Life Changes – So Should Your Estate Plan

Estate planning ensures your assets and wishes are protected and carried out as you intend. However, a common mistake people make is creating an estate plan and then neglecting to update it after significant life events, resulting in unintended consequences, unnecessary complications, and potential conflicts among your loved ones. Here’s why it’s crucial to revisit and update your estate plan after major life events.

Life Changes - Estate Planning

Marriage or Divorce
Getting married is a joyous occasion, but it also brings significant legal and financial changes. Your spouse may automatically have certain rights to your estate, but you may want to make more specific provisions in your estate plan. Conversely, divorce necessitates changes to beneficiaries, executors, and any roles your ex-spouse may have had in your plan.

Birth or Adoption of Children
The birth or adoption of children is one of the most compelling reasons to revisit your estate plan. You’ll want to name legal guardians for your minor children, ensure their financial security, and decide how assets will be distributed to them in the event of your passing.

Death of a Spouse or Beneficiary
The loss of a spouse or a beneficiary named in your estate plan requires immediate attention. Update your plan to reflect this change, including naming new beneficiaries or revising the distribution of assets.

Change in Financial Situation
Significant changes in your financial situation, such as inheriting a large sum, starting a business, or retiring, can affect your estate plan. It’s vital to evaluate and adjust your plan to account for these changes, including reviewing tax implications and ensuring your assets are managed in accordance with your current goals.

Changes in Health
If you experience changes in health, either through illness or injury, it’s essential to update your health care directives and power of attorney documents. These documents empower someone to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Major life events demand periodic reviews and updates to ensure that your intentions are carried out and your loved ones are protected. Ignoring these critical changes can result in unintended consequences and unnecessary complications. To ensure accuracy, make it a priority to revisit your plan after major life events. By doing so, you can be confident that your estate plan continues to serve as a reliable blueprint for the future.


Andrea Shoup