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When should I update my estate plan?

Estate planning is our way of ensuring our loved ones inherit the assets we want them to receive and are looked after when we are gone. There is a lot to know about estate planning, including when to update your plan. Many people are surprised to learn that they also need to update their plans after making one. There are several life events and situations that call for someone to update their estate plan, including:

Named beneficiaries have deceased

If someone you appointed as a beneficiary has passed on, be sure to appoint someone else as a new primary beneficiary. Even if you have contingent beneficiaries in place, your assets would have to go through a lengthy probate process if something happened to them.

Gaining or losing a significant asset

If you recently inherited property, bought some of your own, or lost an asset by selling it off, be sure that your estate plan reflects those changes. If you fail to account for an asset in your will, your loved ones may fight over it, causing irreparable damage to the family relationship.

Birth or adoption

If you added a child to your family, take a moment to update your estate plan by appointing a guardian for them, setting up college funds, and updating your inheritance plan. A moment of preparation today can give your kids the security they deserve.

Divorce or marriage

Gaining or losing a spouse should also come with updating your estate plan. Without updating your will, your spouse may have to fight to inherit what you would have left her, or your ex-spouse may inherit assets that you wanted to go to your children.

Prepare yourself for tomorrow

There is no telling what tomorrow may bring, and it pays to prepare your estate plan to look after your loved ones if something should happen to you. If you have experienced any major life event or changed your mind about some elections since you made your estate plan, now is the best time to update your plan. Take a moment to make sure you are looking after your loved ones in your estate plan.