People sometimes think that, once they have an estate plan in place, they can forget about it. They know that it’s important to make the plan, but they consider making it to be the only step they really have to take. After that, their financial future is secure.
But this can be a major mistake. In reality, estate plans need to be updated periodically. Forgetting about it may mean that the plan is completely outdated by the time that person’s family needs to use it. If the person updates it, they can ensure that it actually reflects their wishes at the time of their passing.
When should these updates take place?
It is possible just to make updates annually, bi-annually or on some other set schedule. For many people, this is the easiest tactic. If you just have an annual meeting to go over your estate plan, you know that it is always relatively up-to-date.
But there are also certain life events that can mean it’s time to update the plan. Some examples of these include:
- The birth of children or grandchildren
- The passing of an heir or a spouse
- Significant financial changes
- Selling major assets, like a business or a home
- Getting married, divorced or remarried
- Encountering specific health complications
- Coming up with different goals, such as leaving money to a charity
When things like this happen, the estate plan should be updated relatively quickly. It’s important not to risk passing away with a plan that won’t actually accomplish all of your goals. If you find yourself in this position, make sure you know exactly what steps to take to update the plan so that it is optimal for all involved.