If any of the following five items have happened in your life, you need to reevaluate your estate planning documents: birth, death, marriage, divorce or a big change in your financial status.
The FDL Reporter recently published an article, “Best reasons to update estate plans include marriage, divorce, move, birth.” It discusses these life events and how they can impact your estate planning.
Marital Status. A change in your marital status definitely requires significant changes to your estate plan. If you've recently married, state law on marital property will now apply to the division and distribution of your estate upon your death. If you've recently divorced, your estate plan should be updated to see that your ex is removed as a beneficiary and fiduciary, as well as any of his or her relatives.
Financial Status. If you're fortunate enough to have won the lottery or received an inheritance, you need to look at your existing estate plan to see that it still satisfies the needs of your now larger estate. If the opposite has occurred and your estate has declined in value, you also need an estate plan review.
Birth or Death of a Beneficiary or Fiduciary. You need to remove the individual's name. However, if a spouse has died, your plan may need a complete overhaul. If you or a beneficiary have adopted or had a child, you need to add that child.
A Move to a New State. This is one of the most overlooked reasons to update your estate plan. Every state has different probate, tax, and estate laws.
Time Passes. If your beneficiaries were younger when you created your plan, consider their status as they get older. They may now even be ready to take on the fiduciary roles in your estate plan, like power of attorney for finances and health care, or even as the Personal Representative of your Will. Your estate planning documents should reflect the changes brought by the passage of time.
Reference: FDL Reporter (April 24, 2018) “Best reasons to update estate plans include marriage, divorce, move, birth”