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  • Writer's pictureCook Tillman

3 reasons you might need to update your estate plan

It can take a lot of motivation to make your first estate plan. Yet, once you have managed that, it is far from over. An estate plan is only effective if it is up to date.

Mark a day in your calendar once a year to give your plan a quick read-through. The end of the year or your birthday are good times to do this. While reading a legal document might not tie in with how you usually celebrate, they tend to be the dates people reflect on another year over. So you are more likely to recall any events that have occurred during the past year that mean you need to revise your estate plan.

Here are some of the events that could trigger the need for revisions:

  1. You lose or gain family

Let’s say you have two children, both named as beneficiaries in your will. If you give birth to a third child, you cannot assume you can update the estate plan to include them later. Do it now, just in case. If one of your beneficiaries dies you need to remove them. If a family member dies and you inherit, that again will require you to alter your plan.

  1. You marry or divorce

Marriage joins your property with your spouse’s. So when you start or end a marriage, you need to adjust your plan.

  1. You increase or decrease your estate

Rid your plan of assets you no longer own and include any new ones. If you choose to give specific items to each child, check their value to ensure you have the balance you seek. If one child is due the house and the other the business, things could swing too far in one direction if house prices rocket and business tanks.

Updating an estate plan does not take long. With the proper legal assistance, you can keep it current and ensure it takes advantage of any changes in tax or inheritance law.

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