There are important times during the estate planner’s life that they should consider updating their estate plan. Estate planners should be aware of what these times are and when they should update their estate plan.
There are several key times to consider updating an estate plan including:
- The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild;
- When a child or grandchild reaches adulthood;
- When a child or grandchild needs funding for education;
- There is a change in circumstances of the guardian named in a will for minor children or the named guardian dies;
- The executor or trustee for the estate experiences a change in circumstances or dies;
- The number of the estate planner’s dependents changes such as if the estate planner begins caring for an adult;
- If a family member of the estate planner dies or becomes ill or disabled;
- The estate planner’s financial goals change;
- The estate planner marries or divorces;
- The estate planner’s spouse becomes ill or disabled;
- The estate planner’s life insurance or long-term care insurance coverage changes;
- The estate planner is purchasing a home or other large asset;
- The estate planner experiences a large increase or decrease in the value of assets such as investments;
- There is change in federal or state laws related to taxes or investments;
- The estate planner is borrowing a large amount of money or taking on liability for another reason;
- The estate planner, or the estate planner’s spouse, receives a large inheritance or gift; or
- The estate planner experiences a career change such as a new job or promotion or starts or closes a business.
Because an estate plan determines how the estate planner’s assets are distributed and how their beneficiaries are cared for, all of these situations and circumstances can impact the estate plan. Estate planning is an ongoing process which is why estate planners should know when to take another look at their estate plan.