A surprising number of people don’t have estate plans at all, and those that do may allow their documents to become outdated and potentially unenforceable.
There are numerous circumstances whereby adults need to revisit and update existing estate plan documents. These are three of the most common reasons to update the paperwork that someone already has in place.
1. Adding new members to the family
Children drastically change someone’s estate planning goals and also what they need to accomplish with their paperwork. From exploring the benefits of using a trust or a will to pass property to children to needing a guardian, there will be special elements that parents need to address in their estate plans. Every time they add new members to their family, that may change considerations like who they would name as a guardian and what resources they earmark for their children.
2. The acquisition of major assets
People constantly experience changes to their financial holdings throughout their adult lives. They may sell a starter home and move into a much bigger and more valuable property. They might inherit a business from their parents or start a successful professional practice. Valuable assets require estate plans that address them specifically both for transition to new ownership in the future and possibly estate tax and asset protection considerations.
3. Major changes to family circumstances
Divorce is a common reason for people to update their estate plans, and so is the death of an immediate family member. The diagnosis of a testator or someone in their immediate family with a major medical condition could also affect what state planning needs someone has.
Whenever there are significant changes to family circumstances or relationships, individuals may need to consider whether their estate plan still adequately addresses their needs. Making timely updates to estate planning paperwork with the assistance of a legal professional can be as important as drafting documents in the first place. Without timely updates, someone’s estate may not ultimately provide a meaningful legacy and the protection of dependent family members as intended.