Many people find thinking about their eventual death to be intensely unpleasant, so they procrastinate about creating an estate plan. If you have already taken the crucial step of creating an estate plan, you may feel better prepared than the average adult for whatever life may throw at you.
While it is certainly true that just having basic estate planning documents in place put you in a safer position, those documents won’t offer the same degree of protection indefinitely. If you want your estate plan to remain effective and enforceable, you need to occasionally update and correct your documents.
When are you most likely to need to make revisions to your estate plan?
After a change to your family
The people closest to you are the ones who usually inherit the most and assume the most control in the event of medical incapacitation. A shift in your household is one of the most common reasons to revisit and update an estate plan.
Maybe you just had children or got married. That means you have people depending on you financially that you need to protect with your estate planning documents. Maybe someone in your family died or you divorced. You may also need to revisit your estate plan when your family size decreases to remove people as beneficiaries or to take control from them so that a former spouse isn’t the one holding authority in your medical power of attorney.
When your financial circumstances change
When all you have to your name is the personal property in your apartment, leaving instructions for your children to divide that property evenly may seem like the simplest solution. As your personal holdings increase in size and complexity, your estate planning needs will change as well.
When you buy real estate or start a business, you need to address those assets in your estate plan. If you lose property, you may need to adjust your plan to reflect those changes as well. Essentially, anytime your family changes or your personal holdings grow or shrink, you may need to reconsider the documents that you have integrated into your estate plan.