Some people put off creating an estate plan for so long that they don’t have one when they need it, leaving their loved ones unnecessarily vulnerable. Other people create an estate plan early in life because they view it as a distasteful task they’d like to get over with and forget about quickly.
Both of these approaches have serious flaws, as an estate plan or last will should reflect your life circumstances, which tend to change over time. That doesn’t mean you should wait until things feel settled in your life to create an estate plan, but rather, that is important to occasionally revisit and update an existing last will or estate plan to ensure that it reflects your current needs.
When are common times that people need to think about updating their estate plans?
For most people, changes in their financial circumstances or family will be the primary motivations for updating or changing an existing last will or estate plan. Any event that increases or reduces your family size, as well as events that impact the assets that you can leave behind, could be reasons to adjust your existing estate plan.
Some of the more common reasons for people to change an estate plan include:
- The death of a beneficiary
- The birth of a new family member
- Acquiring substantial new assets
- Losing major assets, such as the family house
Anytime you have someone you want to protect, someone you want to add or remove from your last will or an asset you haven’t previously mentioned in your last will, it may be time to review your documents and make any changes necessary to maximize the protection for your loved ones and your legacy.