When’s the best time to update an estate plan?

Estate planning doesn’t have to be stressful. When you take measures to keep an estate plan up to date, you are ready for anything that might happen in the future. Ideal estate planning should occur after significant milestones in your life instead of left for when you’re older and suddenly realizing you should get all your affairs in order.

By updating your estate plan regularly, you can avoid forgetting important assets and ensure that at the time of your death, your plan is as current as it can be. This will also help prevent tricky probate litigation and ensure that your wishes are followed accordingly.

You should consider updating your estate plan after major life changes such as:

  • Marriage or divorce – If you recently got married, divorced, or even remarried, you should consider revisiting your estate plan. It’s common to leave behind assets to a spouse, so you may need to add your new spouse to your plan or remove a former spouse.
  • Moving to a new state – Each state has specific estate planning laws, so you should revise your plan to ensure it’s following the rules of your new residence.
  • The birth of a new child – Young couples who recently had a child or older couples who have become grandparents should consider updating their estate plans with the addition of new family members. You may want to leave assets behind to a new child or grandchild or set up a trust for them to use in the future.
  • The loss of a family member – Similarly to the above, if you recently lost a member of your family to whom you were planning to leave behind assets, you may want to remove them from your plan.
  • The purchase of new property – If you recently bought a large property such as a new home or a business, you should add that asset to your estate plan as well to ensure it passes onto the right person after your death.

An updated estate plan provides you peace of mind as you grow older. It allows you to prepare for the future and takes some of the stress out of making decisions at the last minute. And if you’re finding the process challenging, an estate planning lawyer can help you stay on track and ensure you don’t forget any details.