If it’s been a few years since you created your estate plan and a lot has changed since then, you’ll need to update it promptly. Failure to do so can invalidate your will or create grounds for conflict among your beneficiaries. It’s important to update or modify your estate plan if one or more of the following events happen.
Birth or adoption of child or grandchild
If you’ve had children or grandkids since you created your estate plan, then they need to be included in the plan. Since they are still young and death is often unpredictable, ensure to name a guardian who would take care of them when you won’t be able to. If you have a trust, you can name a trustee to manage the children’s inheritance until they come of age. Also, you may want to name them as beneficiaries in your life insurance policy and retirement accounts.
When you first created your estate plan, you didn’t know whether you or your child would end up getting divorced. If this happens, you won’t want your former spouse to be the beneficiary in your retirement accounts, insurance policy, will, trust and other assets, so it’s time to update them. If you took your partner’s name, you may need to change it in your estate planning documents. The same applies to your children.
A change in tax law
If California or the federal government made any changes to the tax laws that might affect your estate plan, you should update it immediately. It would be best to stay updated on any changes to avoid having an invalid or costly estate plan.
Change in the circumstances in people named in your estate plans
If your trustee, guardian or personal representative experiences a change in their circumstance that affects their role, you must modify your estate plan. For instance, they might get arrested, become incapacitated or pass away. You should also do the same if something significant has happened to any of your beneficiaries, like if your child or grandchild turns 18.
Estate planning is an important process that you shouldn’t take lightly. By revisiting your estate plan regularly, you can ensure that it remains up to date and reflects your current wishes.