Things in our lives change, and when they do, we have to adjust accordingly to ensure that while we let life take its natural course, we still manage aspects that we can control. This concept suitably applies to estate planning. Even the smallest changes in circumstances can affect the efficacy of an estate plan. To maximize its benefits, your estate plan should be up to date and align with your goals, priorities and current situation.
Out with the old, in with the new
A common reason for updating an estate plan is when there are new family members, such as a spouse, a child or a grandchild, who the estate planner wants to include in their plan. Similarly, when relationships fail and an individual no longer sees their original beneficiary as part of their future, they can update their estate plan to remove or replace their beneficiary.
Some changes that call for an estate plan update involve acquiring and losing properties. Many individuals use estate planning to protect their assets and secure their loved ones’ financial future. This is why when they obtain new properties, they update their wills or create new estate planning tools to include those newly acquired assets. On the other hand, an individual who loses ownership of a property should remove it from their plan to avoid repercussions during probate and estate administration.
There are several other reasons an individual might update their estate plan, all relating to their unique priorities and circumstances.
Deciding whether it is time for a change
While a friend or a relative may constantly make changes in their estate plan, it does not mean you should automatically update yours. Nevertheless, while updating an estate plan is optional, you must regularly review and ensure that your planning tools and provisions therein still align with your current situation. Otherwise, your assets may not be distributed according to your wishes.