Once you execute your estate plan documents, it is important to set up reminders to review these documents periodically. There are many life changes that can affect the decisions you’ve made regarding your estate plan and the people you’ve named in it.
1. The Law Changes
When you executed your estate plan, you may have needed sophisticated estate tax planning because, in the early 2000s, the estate tax laws were very different. That means that you could have stringent trusts that were smart at the time, but may not be necessary under today’s laws.
Or you may have recently executed your estate plan under today’s higher exemption rate; however, at any given time, the exemption may drop significantly. it is important to contact your estate planning attorney periodically to make sure the changing laws have not outdated your estate plan.
2. Your Financial Situation Changed
It is also probable that your financial situation will change from time to time. Hopefully, with proper financial advice, it is growing. But, this means that you may find yourself with an estate that exceeds the estate tax exemption and in need of more sophisticated estate tax planning to minimize estate taxes for your family.
You may have also gained or lost new assets that you would need to allocate properly. Significant assets such as a new home, car or inheritance, would need to be evaluated and added to your documents.
3. Personal Relationships Change
Life certainly has an everchanging effect on your relationships. Some people leave your life just as fast as they come in, and some stick around for the long haul. There’s only so much predicting you can do when it comes to picking the crucial roles of the ones closest to you.
All you can do is make the best choice as you see it now. Because If you die without a will, state law determines who receives your assets, and the probate court determines who serves as your executor and guardian of your minor children.
Your relationships with the people you named as beneficiaries, executors, and guardians may change over the years, so it is best to review your estate planning documents. Especially under the following circumstances:
Your own marriage certainly calls for an estate plan update, however, the marriage of a beneficiary you have named in your will, is especially important. You’ll want to be sure that your beneficiary doesn’t end up unintentionally splitting any inheritance that you’ve left for them.
Although state law automatically removes a former spouse from your will, he or she is not removed as an agent under a durable power of attorney or Advance Healthcare Directive.
If you have divorced since you executed your estate planning documents, you should definitely review those documents, to ensure that your former spouse does not have control of your assets and medical decisions should you become incapacitated.
If you have had children since you executed your will, you may have not named a guardian in your original will. Should something happen to you and your spouse before your children reach age 18, The Probate Court will choose the guardian. By updating your will and naming your guardian, you have a say in who will take care of your children after you’re gone.
Take a look at this article: Estate Planning In Your 20’S And 30’S
The death of a spouse, beneficiary, or guardian may change the entire trajectory of your estate plan. If you’ve lost someone close to you, review your estate plan to make sure there aren’t any assets that are going to no one.
4. Change In Religion
Something that is not talked about very often, but as people go through life, their views of the world change. You may be raised a certain way, but that’s not where your heart is. Just like your tastebuds, interests, and life direction may change, so can your end-of-life preferences.
Every religion comes with set rules and/or guidelines for living your life, and most likely for how it ends. Switching from one religion to another, finding religion, or losing it – Can all affect things such as: Whether you want to be kept on life support, who you want to leave certain assets to, and where/how you want to be buried and memorialized.
I wrote a very interesting post about Green Burials recently that made me completely change my end-of-life plans. Not that I had grand plans, to begin with, but after doing the research I felt a certain connection to the green burial process that made me say, yep, that’s how I want to go in the ground. You never know when inspiration will strike.
5. Change In Location
Estate planning is also based upon state law. If you’ve moved to another state, you’re going to want to speak with an estate planning attorney in any new state that you move to so that your plan meets your new state’s statutory requirements.
If you haven’t started your estate planning journey yet, we’d be happy to help you navigate through your personal affairs and put together the best estate plan for you. Give us a call at 860-669-1222 or use our contact form, and we will get back to you to schedule a consultation.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and is for general informational purposes only.
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Marketing & Technology Director at RWC, LLC, Attorneys & Counselors at Law
Ukraine born and Israel / Miami, FL raised. University of Miami graduate in the Marketing field.
Mom to a girl, a boy, and a Siberian Husky.
Thanks for pointing out that having children can greatly affect my estate plan. I’m interested in looking for an estate planning attorney early in life so that I wouldn’t need to cram it decades into the future. However, doing it early means that I will need to update it from time to time, considering that I’m not even sure how many children I would want to have.