Your estate plan is not something you write and forget about. In fact, you should revisit it a few times during your life as circumstances dictate.
If your estate plan is out of date, you may miss the opportunity to ensure your family is well cared for after your death. It may help to understand the life events that necessitate an update to your estate plan.
Did you purchase property?
The purchase of real estate means you own something. Once you have your name on property, tangible or intangible, you need to have a directive that sets forth how you want it handled after your death. Whether you purchase an investment home or a vacant lot, any additional property not addressed in your estate plan requires a revision.
Did you have a child?
The birth of a child is life-changing. You now have a direct heir who inherits when you die. However, when you have a child, you need to choose a guardian. This is a person you choose to raise your child should you die before he or she is 18. Dying without appointing a guardian to care for minor children may mean temporary displacement in a court-appointed facility. When you have a child, your documents need revising.
Did you separate from your spouse?
Getting a divorce means that you and your spouse no longer share a life. However, what happens if you die in the midst of your divorce? If you separate and do not change beneficiary designations in life insurance, retirement plans and estate documents, your former spouse may still inherit. Therefore, when you separate from a spouse, you should change your estate plan.
Revising your estate plan does not have to become a hardship. When a change in life circumstances occurs, the update is necessary for the wellbeing of your family.