When Do I Need to Update My Estate Plan?

An estate plan provides an outline for where your assets and hard work will go when you pass away, but it’s important to keep it up to date. A will is not a “set it and forget it” document, and they’re fairly easy to update. So, what situations should prompt you to make a change to your will?

Your family welcomes a new member

There’s no law saying every single member of your family needs to be named in your will, but if you or a loved one welcomes a child or gets married you should consider if the new member is deserving of a portion of your life’s work. In the instance of one of your beneficiaries welcoming a child, you may consider allocating more assets to that beneficiary and allowing them to decide what’s best for the child. It’s your decision, but it’s also your responsibility to stay on top of your estate once it is in place.

An involved party is no longer available

The idea of either the executor or beneficiaries in your will is they will remain important to you and outlive you, but that’s not always the case.

In the case of the executor, availability is the number one priority because someone who is dead obviously cannot carry out your wishes, and someone who becomes unavailable puts the onus on your loved ones and the courts to either track them down or fulfill your wishes in another manner.

In the case of a beneficiary, you will need to decide where the assets previously allocated to them go if they either die or are no longer part of your life. Leaving assets undecided at the time of your death can lead to rifts between loved ones you meant to protect and provide for. You can also name secondary or contingent beneficiaries which prevent you from needing to change your will by providing another name to receive certain assets in the event of a death.

Your assets change

From the moment you put together a will, you should consider all major financial changes and the addition or subtraction of certain assets. It can become tedious, but you need to keep in mind how your lifestyle changes impact your estate plan. Did you buy property? All the paperwork can be exhausting, but don’t let yourself neglect your will.

This also applies to positive or negative changes to income. Life goals change and employment changes are a big part of this. A big promotion or even the loss of your job are big factors that should initiate alterations to your will. Your hard work should be honored after you’re gone.

Tax or estate-related laws change

This is both extremely important and challenging for many estates. Laws are constantly changing, and even if estate-related laws don’t see wholesale changes, minor tweaks could put your plan at risk. Moving to another state could play a role in this, as well, as different states have different tax laws.

The right attorney can help you keep up with these changes. At Hedtke Law Group, we’ve got extensive experience in estate planning and are always keeping up with any changes that could impact your plans. Contact us today to get the right plan for you!