If you’ve taken estate planning steps to create your will, you’ve secured your assets and alleviated future strain on your family — or have you?
Sources recommend updating your will as frequently as once per year in order to ensure that the conditions you have set are still accurate and enforceable. Here are a few situations that could initiate a change to your will.
If you were recently married, you may be more inclined to picture your life with your new spouse — instead of their life without you. However, it’s important to stay practical. If you were to pass unexpectedly, your spouse is likely to manage the aftermath. Review your will with a lawyer for advice on which responsibilities and procedures may be best to appoint to your spouse.
A new child
Whether you have welcomed a new child into your family through a birth, adoption, marriage or extended family, it may be important to answer how you would provide for the child in case of a tragic event. Provisions for minor children may include selecting a guardian for the child and choosing the way assets should be distributed to him or her.
You moved out of state
Because different states have different property laws, revisiting your estate plan after moving to Illinois may require extra steps to avoid unnecessary taxation. Conversely, you may learn about the benefits the state of Illinois has to offer if certain changes are made to your plan.
It’s common for people to walk in and out of our lives. If you’ve lost touch with someone whom you designated as your durable power of attorney, it may be sensible to replace this person.
Your durable power of attorney should be someone who has a strong sense of your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated. This person should be able to drop everything to manage your health care decisions and financial assets if you are unable to do so.
Other changes, such as a change in a beneficiary’s interests, may prompt you to make slight changes to the way your assets are distributed.
Changes in tax law
Regularly reviewing your estate plan may alert you of changes in the federal or state law that you weren’t aware of. Changes in tax law could make a big impact on your estate plan if you have not acknowledged how the changes may affect you.
Spouses are often designated important roles in estate planning documentation. For example, many spouses designate one another as their power of attorney, so that they can share bank accounts. However, after a divorce, you’ll likely want to revoke these types of privileges.
Some deaths may require rewriting a will altogether. Others may only require small changes. If someone in your life has passed recently, any terms of your will applying to that person specifically should be addressed.
Other major changes to your finances, property or assets
More can happen in a year than you may realize. If it has been over a year since you have reviewed your estate plan, you owe it to your family to review major changes with a lawyer. An attorney can advise you on any new legislation that may impact your plan and which options may make the most sense for your financial situation.