Revise and Revisit Your Estate Plan
Revise and Revisit Your Estate Plan — A Good Estate Plan is Important for People of Every Age and Life Stage
A good estate plan will need to be revisited and revised as your life changes.
Once you have thought through and developed an estate plan and completed the necessary legal and financial paperwork to put your plan into place, you never have to think about it again, right? Think again – A good estate plan needs to be revisited and revised as your life changes to deliver on its intended objectives of protecting you and preserving your assets should you become incapacitated or die.
Here is a list of some of the important life events that may trigger the need to revisit your estate plan, and the resulting changes you may need to consider or implement to keep it up to date.
- Acquiring significant assets. Many young people today who work hard and find good jobs begin to build their savings through personal financial investments and employer retirement plans. Taking time to designate beneficiaries on financial accounts helps ensure that your assets will be inherited by the people you care for if you were to die suddenly.
- Getting married or gaining a life partner. There are many state and federal laws that can have major implications for spouses and life partners. Understanding these laws is essential in estate planning. It will help ensure that your spouse or partner has the right to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if necessary, and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes if you die.
- Having a child. Having a child is one of life’s most joyful events – but it also brings with it the need to plan for the child's security should something happen to you. Preparing a will and naming a legal guardian to care for your child if you were to die is critical to a good estate plan.
- Entering a business partnership. A successful business partnership generates income and builds wealth for the owners and their families. Having agreements and legal paperwork in place that clearly spell out how the business should be managed if one of the partners were to die will help ensure that the business and the surviving family members are protected financially.
- Approaching retirement. As people age and build their wealth, finances and tax implications for surviving family members become more complicated. Seeking estate-planning advice from an experienced financial advisor can potentially help preserve your assets and reduce taxes. Be sure to revisit your estate plan every few years. Periodic review of your will, power of attorney, health care proxy and financial account beneficiaries will help ensure that your estate is settled according to your wishes.
Think of your estate plan as a “living” plan that needs to be reviewed and perhaps amended through the years to ensure that you, your family and your hard-earned assets are protected.