If you already have an estate plan in place, congratulations! Taking the time to think through major decisions that will impact your later years and the future of your loved ones once you pass on can be difficult, but it is such an important process. However, just because you’ve created your estate plan and made it official, this doesn’t mean that you’ll never have to think about it again. In fact, implementing an estate plan is simply the beginning—these documents will probably end up shifting throughout your life as your circumstances and priorities change. Below are four major life events or changes that should prompt you to revisit (and possibly revise) your estate plan.
1. You Move Across State Lines
When it comes to estate planning, each state has its own set of laws that govern how a person’s property, assets and debts are handled when they pass away. Whether you uproot your family to live permanently in a new state or you decide to purchase a vacation home in another state, it’s a good idea to meet with your estate planning lawyer to discuss the implications. You’ll also want to discuss other aspects of your estate plan with an attorney in your new home state, such as how powers of attorney are established, or how advance healthcare directives are put into place.
2. Your Family Changes Shape
In many cases, the arrival of children or grandchildren to your family can prompt you to revisit your estate plan. You’ll likely want to add their names as your beneficiaries so that they are specifically included in your will. Or, perhaps you and your spouse have decided to go your separate ways and you are going through a divorce. Once your divorce is finalized, you may want to reflect this change in your estate plan. If you end up finding a new life partner, you can always add their name when you revisit your estate plan later on.
3. Your Retirement Plan Uses Outdated Information
It’s important to remember that any beneficiaries of your IRAs, 401(k), or similar retirement plans are designated through the plans themselves and are therefore not considered part of your estate plan. Even if you think you’ve nominated a beneficiary for these plans in your will, this designation will not be considered valid because these nominations are determined through the plans themselves. So, make sure that you update the beneficiary designations with your retirement plans when necessary.
4. Your Priorities Shift
Sometimes, people find themselves feeling passionate about a cause or charity as their interests grow. Perhaps volunteering with an animal sanctuary or donating time to serve as a literacy coach have sparked your interest in serving the greater good. If you discover a passion for a cause or charity and you would like to make sure you leave behind financial assets to support this cause, it’s a good idea to meet with your estate planning attorney to make the necessary changes to your will.
Have you recently undergone some shifts that make you think you need to revisit your estate plan? Or would you like to know more about establishing an estate plan in the Spokane area? If so, reach out the friendly and dedicated estate planning attorneys at Legacy Law Group by calling (509) 315-8087 today.