5 Reasons You Need to Update Your Will or Trust

Update Your Will or TrustUpdate Your Will or Trust

You don’t need to worry about your estate plan expiring, but you might need to update your will or trust from time to time. As life changes occur, things included in your estate plan should also change. It’s important to periodically check your will or trust and review your estate planning documents any time something significant happens in your life.

What are the top 5 reasons you need to review and update your estate plans?

1. Marriage, Divorce, or Remarriage

Any time your marital status changes it’s a good idea to change your estate plans. State laws govern spousal rights if you die without a will, but that doesn’t mean what the state dictates is what is right for you and your family.

Creating a will or trust overrides what automatically occurs in many cases, so it’s important to have your intentions clearly detailed in your estate plans. This not only avoids legal confusion, but it also avoids arguments within your family.

Family status changes are also good times to make changes to issues in addition to your assets, such as medical directives and power of attorney.

2. Children

If you don’t already have an estate plan in place when you become a parent, you should consider establishing one now that you are responsible for a child. And if you have a plan, you need to update it now that there’s a child in your life.

Nobody wants to think about dying young and leaving their children without a parent, but it happens. You need to provide for your children and make sure you have a plan in place for their guardianship and care if the unthinkable occurs.

It’s also a good idea to update your existing estate plans once your children reach adulthood since their needs are different and your financial situation has likely changed.

3. Tax Laws Change

Tax laws that affect estate planning periodically change. This is why it’s a good idea to have an attorney look over your existing plan every five to 10 years, even if there have been no significant changes in your life. If it’s been longer than that since you’ve reviewed your estate plans, you must do an assessment as soon as possible because federal laws have changed in that time.

For more information on how recent changes might affect your estate plan, check out this information from Investopedia.

4. Executor, Trustee, Guardian, or Beneficiary Changes

You need to update your estate plans any time you make a change in who will handle your affairs or inherit your assets. There can be official reasons for this – your executor changes because you remarry or a child reaches adulthood – or unofficial ones – such as having a falling out with a beloved friend you intended to inherit an asset or appoint as guardian of your children.

5. Asset Changes

Finally, you’ll need to update your plans if your assets change significantly. And keep in mind, you shouldn’t think of significant changes as only unexpected windfalls of wealth.

Chances are, in the course of 5 to 10 years your assets change significantly even if you are living an average, run-of-the-mill life. You invest more in retirement and you build wealth in other ways. Your estate plans need to address these gradual changes, as well as any lucky windfalls.

Why Do You Need to Review and Update Your Will or Trust with an Attorney?

These five reasons for updating your estate plans are not the only ones that exist, but they are some of the most common “life triggers” that should cause you to pause and consider the plans you have in place. It’s also a good idea to do a review if you move, if you develop a severe illness, or if you transfer jobs.

Keeping your estate plans up-to-date ensures your family is provided for if and when something happens to you. It also ensures limited dispute over how your estate is divvied up once you’re gone. And it can help you protect as much of your wealth as possible and avoid unnecessary interference of the probate court.

For more information or to speak to someone about updating your will or trust, contact Frese Whitehead & Anderson, P.A., at 321-984-3300 for more information.


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