Estate plans need regular attention. Why? Because a person’s life evolves and changes through the years. Assets grow and accumulate, matters in a person’s life change and so do personal relationships. For example, a will created by the 30-year-old version of yourself likely would be insufficient and out of date for the 55-year-old you.
An important aspect of estate planning is keeping your will up to date. The general rule of thumb is to review your will every three to five years. However, it could not hurt to review your will annually. Maybe since you created your will, you got married, had kids and added a second home. Such a scenario represents an ideal time to update your will.
Life changes lead to will changes
The main thing to remember is that if significant changes occur in your life, then you probably should make changes to your will. Your estate plan should get an update when the following occur:
- Marriage: Neglecting to include your spouse in your will promises to provide legal, financial and personal difficulties.
- Remarriage: Perhaps this is your second marriage. You want to make sure that your new spouse is cared for financially. Also, you do not want to neglect your children from a previous marriage.
- Divorce: Your original will may name your now ex-spouse among your beneficiaries or even as executor. You likely want to have your former spouse removed from your will.
- Births of children and grandchildren: You do not want to neglect vital heirs in your estate plan.
- The launch of a business: Who will take over the business when you’re gone? Will the business be sold, or will the family continue to operate it? A business succession plan would address this issue.
- Changes in relationships with executor: Perhaps you and your original executor no longer get along or even have severed your personal relationship. Find someone who shares your values.
- Deaths of heirs: This includes, sad as this possibility seems, the deaths of your spouse or children.
Staying on top of your estate planning is the responsible and smart thing to do. A will, for example, needs regular scrutiny. Changes in your life mean changes to your will. The result is peace of mind with fewer chances of disputes.