Completing, reviewing, and updating estate planning documents is often that item that gets pushed to the bottom of a very long to-do list. Whether you have not yet created your documents or you have your documents complete and set them aside, it is important to know when updates need to be made. As with all other aspects of life, we need to do periodic “check-ups” to ensure all is in order. One of the most common mistakes someone may make when managing their estate plan is not updating or reviewing the documents after their initial outline. In general, estate planning attorneys recommend individuals review their estate plan every few years or after any major life changes. By analyzing and amending these documents, if needed, individuals ensure their comprehensive estate plan accurately reflects their life circumstances and wishes, whatever life developments may arise.
While people may remember to update their Will, various other important documents within an estate plan should also receive a review, including your Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Trust, and beneficiary designations on all accounts. To ensure the information in your comprehensive estate plan is accurate and without legal issues, speak with an experienced elder law and estate planning lawyer about your unique circumstances, goals, and current estate planning documents.
6 Life Events That Could Lead to a Review of Your Estate Plan
As you move through your life, your circumstances and assets change. If you do not continue to review and update your estate plan, as needed, important documents outlining your medical, financial, and property decisions may not accurately represent your current wishes. While many events can require a review of your estate plan, consider a few common examples below:
Relocation to Another State
In the United States, estate planning laws differ from state to state. Whether you relocate across the country or a few miles into the next state, reviewing your estate plan to encompass the laws accurately is crucial.
Marriage or Divorce
When you get married, you may want to update your estate plan to include your spouse as a beneficiary and adjust distribution percentages. On the other hand, if you are going through a divorce and/or legal separation, you may want to revise your plan, remove an ex-spouse, and make new arrangements. In New York, a Power of Attorney remains in effect unless properly revoked, so it is important you ensure the Agent you have selected is appropriate.
Birth or Adoption of Children
Having an updated and comprehensive estate plan is critical for your children. In the event of your unexpected passing, your estate plan will outline the care of your children and ensure they are provided for and receive any assets in your estate in line with your wishes.
Death of a Family Member or Beneficiary
When a family member or beneficiary passes, estate planning might be the last thing on your mind. However, if a deceased family member is named in your estate plan, you may want to re-evaluate and amend your documents to contemplate another beneficiary in their place or adjust distribution percentages to reflect the changes.
Change in Financial Status
Starting a business, acquiring substantial assets, or experiencing a financial setback are all significant financial changes that could warrant a review of your estate plan. By updating your estate plan to represent your current financial situation accurately, you ensure your plan accommodates your current wealth and addresses any specific considerations related to your assets.
Approaching retirement or changes in your retirement plans are instances where a review of your estate plan is vital. Preparing for the future and properly outlining your medical and financial choices is crucial to your well-being.
While the list above provides a few common examples of life events that may lead to a review of your estate plan, it is important to remember any major life event affecting your personal, financial, or familial circumstances may prompt a review of your estate plan. To ensure your plan remains up-to-date and aligns with your current intentions, consult with your experienced estate planning attorneys.
Speak With an Experienced Fratello Law Estate Planning Attorney in New York Today
Understanding local laws and potential legal disparities is challenging without an experienced and knowledgeable elder law and estate planning attorney. Our Fratello Law attorneys are passionate about protecting those within our community and ensuring their comprehensive estate plan accurately reflects our clients’ wishes while avoiding any potential legal disparity.
We are a small firm with a big heart, and we take pride in offering an environment where clients can feel comfortable speaking to us about their questions or concerns. Call (516) 980-4633 or complete our contact form to schedule a no-initial-cost consultation with an attorney today.