The new year is a great time to consider updating or revising your estate plan. Things change from year to year, so it is a good idea to pull out your estate plans periodically to be sure that it still says what you want it to say. Your estate plan is important to both you and your loved ones, so it is vital that it is correct and remains up to date. Below are a few changes that may have happened this year that might trigger the need to revise your plan.
- Changes in Family Members
The most common change to an estate plan deals with adding or removing family and friends from your list of beneficiaries. Perhaps you experienced the following changes this year. If so, you likely need to make a few alterations to your estate plan:
- The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild
- Changes in the number of dependents, such as caring for an adult
- Marriage or divorce
- Illness or disability of a spouse
Remember that even if your family changes, your estate plan will only change with it if you are active in updating your plan.
- Additions or Sale of Large Assets
The purchase or sale of a large asset, such as a home, will often have a profound effect on your estate plan. It may alter who should get what to keep things balanced among dependents or children. It may also make sense to leave the asset to one or more designated people, instead of lumping it in with your personal assets.
Whether you have bought or sold a significant asset, you should account for that change in your estate plan.
- Changes Regarding Your Trustees and Guardians
You can name a guardian for your minor children in your will. If the designated guardian’s circumstances change, such as illness, death, or even the birth of new children of their own, then you may want to change whom you have listed as the guardian.
If your trustee or executor passes or there is another change, you will need to make adjustments to account for those circumstances as well. If you fail to make that adjustment, the court may appoint someone for you—and you likely will not have any say or input in the matter.
- Other Financial Changes
Some financial changes may warrant alterations in your estate plan as well. For example, if you start your own business, dealing with those assets and liabilities may drastically affect your estate plan, depending on the type of business and how it is formed.
If you or your spouse receives an inheritance, gift, promotion, or start a new job, your estate plan may need to be altered as well.
It can be difficult to determine what circumstances warrant a change in your estate plan. As such, it is a good idea to check in with your estate planning attorney on an annual basis to ensure that your estate plan is in good shape for the new year. Call the team at Matus Law Group to set up an appointment to go over your current plan.