Regardless of your financial situation or family size, you need a comprehensive estate plan that handles the distribution of your assets and legacy wishes if you become incapacitated or upon your passing. Most people will revise their estate plan many times during a lifetime. Here are the most common reasons to update an existing estate plan.
A New Spouse
If you have recently gotten married, you have probably already included your new spouse in your health and life insurance policies, but you should also update other areas of your estate plan. Do you have a prenuptial agreement with your current spouse, kids from a former marriage, or assets that you own with another person? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your assets may not be designated to your spouse after your death if your estate plan is not updated after marriage. To ensure that your new spouse is protected in the event of your death, you need to thoroughly review your existing estate plan as soon as possible.
The Birth or Adoption of Children
The birth or adoption of a child can change everything. From the amount of money that you spend each month to your nightly sleeping habits when a child comes into your life, your world is sure to be turned upside down in some way. Just like your life will significantly change upon the birth of a child, your estate plan should also change. Depending on how your existing estate plan is composed, you may need to add your child as a beneficiary of your policy. As your child slowly grows in age, you should alter your plan to make sure that your assets will be distributed in a way that you think would be appropriate. For example, when your child is a minor, your estate plan should name a guardian who will care for your child upon your death. On the other hand, when your child becomes an adult, you may want to set up installments so that your loved one receives money at certain intervals or ages.
An Unexpected Divorce
While certain states and federal laws may prohibit your former spouse from receiving an inheritance once you and your significant other parts ways, you should still update your estate plan when your divorce is finalized. Following a divorce, you might need to change any beneficiary designations, powers of attorney authorizations, and health insurance spousal coverages. In fact, it’s a good idea to review your entire estate plan during this life-changing event to ensure that your former spouse is not included in your will.
The Death of a Loved One
Life is often unpredictable and, as a result, there may be appointed people in your estate plan who will pass away before you. When a death of a loved one unexpectedly happens, you will need to designate a new guardian, power of attorney, executor, or health care proxy as soon as possible.
A Substantial Change in Assets
The purchase of a big asset, a generous salary increase, and the loss of a good paying job over a prolonged period are all considered significant changes in assets. When any of these types of situations occur, you must alter your current estate plan immediately. If you have a big estate, there will likely be disputes over the distribution of your assets if there is not an updated plan upon your death.
A Move to A New Country or State
Whenever you move to a new country or state, most expert estate planning attorneys would advise you to draft a completely new estate plan that reflects the legal requirements in the location where you have chosen to reside. If you plan to live abroad, as an American, your estate plan will require professional assistance.
An Expert Estate and Trusts Attorney in St Louis Can Help You Determine Which Items to Update in Your Estate Plan
During the course of your eventful life, protecting yourself and your family should be your primary focus. If you would like to learn more about ways to properly prepare for the future, visit our estate planning page here. Once you have finished reading this important information, remember that an estate planning attorney St. Louis is always ready to help you build a great estate plan. Contact us today and let us help you!