Too many people make the mistake of thinking that estate planning is a one-time task. However, in reality, creating an estate plan is only part of the process. You must also review your plans periodically to be sure that they continue to protect your wishes and assets.
With this in mind, you should be aware of some important events that should prompt a review of your estate plan. These events can affect anyone, but it is easy to overlook the impact they have on wills, trusts and other planning elements, so it is crucial to have some awareness.
Changes in family members and relationships
Estrangements, reconciliations, marriages, divorce, births and deaths can have a considerable impact on an estate plan. These events may change whom you trust, whom you want to pass property to and whom you wish to protect, so it is important to review your plan in light of changes in your personal, professional and familial relationships.
Shifts in your financial status
Losing or gaining a substantial amount of money can certainly affect your estate plans. If you receive real property, inheritances, gifts or other major assets, you may want to think about setting up or making changes to a trust. If your estate has decreased in value, you may want to revisit your plans for inheritances or charitable contributions.
Changes in your personal or spiritual wishes
Your own approach to estate planning can change over time. Perhaps you decide that you’d rather not leave your children large sums of money and instead set up a charitable trust. You might also change how you feel about life-saving medical efforts, religious guidance and/or funeral arrangements. Reviewing your estate plan gives you the opportunity to make changes and be certain that it reflects your current beliefs.
Under any of these circumstances, adjusting your estate plan can be essential. For guidance and support on reviewing wills, trusts and other documents, you can consult an attorney.