Putting a comprehensive estate plan in place is important for everyone. While everyone’s estate plan may look different, it will likely include things like tools for distributing your assets when you die, such as a will or a trust. It will also likely include other important legal documents such as advanced health care directives. These directives provide safeguards for your wishes and well-being in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes and preferences for yourself. Regardless of the specific contents of your estate plan, however, it will be critical that you periodically review your estate plan and update it as needed.
Have You Updated Your Estate Plan Lately?
Far too many people put an estate plan in place and walk away never to return to it. This is a mistake that can render your estate plan ineffective or have unintended consequences that will impact your family for generations to come. As life changes, so should you go and review your estate plan to make sure it reflects your most current life situation and goals. After all, an estate plan encapsulates our goals as they exist at the time we establish the plan. Goals and families change. With these changes, so should you go and change your estate plan.
For instance, consider how your family structure may change over the years. After you establish your estate plan, there may be a death of a loved one. Conversely, there may be births in your family. You may get married. You may get remarried. You may get divorced. All of these changes mean that your intended heirs and beneficiaries under your estate may change. You may wish to include a new child or a new spouse so that they have a specific inheritance under your estate plan. With death and divorce, you may wish to reallocate things in your estate plan to other heirs.
With life changes, you may also want to reevaluate who you have appointed to positions of responsibility in your estate plan. If you have divorced or there has been a death of a loved one since you put your estate plan in place, revisit your plan to see who you listed in roles of responsibility such as the personal representative of your estate or an agent under a power of attorney. You will likely want to name someone else if a former spouse is listed in these positions to help ensure that the proper individual assumes the role in the event that it is necessary for them to do so.
Even beyond changes in your family structure, your life goals can change and evolve over time as you change and evolve personally. Periodically review your estate plan to make sure that your most current wishes are reflected there. For instance, you may have different end of life care treatment preferences and would need to make updates to your living will.
Estate Planning Attorneys
For establishing or updating your estate plan, you can count on the team at Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace. Contact us today.