One of the most common misconceptions about estate planning is that you can “set it and forget it”—that is, that you can make an estate plan and then just sit back and relax. Actually, it’s incredibly important to be vigilant, ensuring that your estate plan is updated to reflect any changes in your family, changes to your assets, or changes to your estate planning goals.
In fact, it is generally recommended that you sit down and review your estate plan annually, making changes as needed. Additionally, update your estate plan in any of the following scenarios.
You relocate to a new state.
Estate planning laws are not national. In fact, they can vary significantly from one state to the next. So, while you may have an estate plan that’s perfectly suited to California, moving to New York may require you to make some changes.
Any time you relocate to a new state, make sure you reach out to a local estate planning attorney for help bringing your estate plan up to speed.
You have major changes to your family.
One of the main purposes of estate planning is to leave a legacy for your family, and to ensure that the people you love are taken care of after you die—but what if that list of people changes?
Specifically, it’s wise to change your estate plan if:
- You get married
- You get divorced
- You have a child
- You adopt a child
- You have a grandchild
- Your spouse dies
In any of these scenarios, make sure you meet with your estate planning lawyer to make the necessary changes to your legal documents.
You have major changes to your assets or liabilities.
You should also update your estate plan if the estate itself changes—and that means major changes to either your assets or liabilities.
For example, if you buy or sell real estate, come into a large sum of money, lose a large sum of money, or acquire valuable jewelry, those are all occasions on which to revisit your estate plan.
And, if you accrue a lot of debts, that’s also a good reason to look anew at your legal documents.
You need to choose a new beneficiary or executor.
Say you have named an individual to serve as the executor of your will—perhaps a friend who you know to be a responsible and trustworthy person.
But what if that individual moves out of state? Or you simply lose contact? And what happens if the named executor dies? In any of these cases, you will want to revise your estate plan. And this is true not just of the executor, but also potential trustees, beneficiaries, etc.
Your retirement savings plans change.
It’s not uncommon for estate plans to encompass 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement savings vehicles—but what happens if those retirement savings vehicles are dissolved or changed? For example, what happens if you roll over your 401(k) into an IRA?
Any kind of change to your retirement accounts is reason enough to sit down with your estate planning attorney and review your documents.
Get the help you need updating your estate plan.
Proper estate planning requires vigilance, and a willingness to look anew at your estate plans every year or so. Additionally, make updates any time you have big life changes.
Our attorneys are always around to help you revise your estate plan as needed. To schedule a conversation about your estate planning needs, reach out to the legal team at Singh Law Firm today.