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4 times you should update an estate plan

Posted by Joshua Gunsher, Esq. | Apr 03, 2023 | 0 Comments

An estate plan shouldn't be made and forgotten. Because life is always changing, the testator may need to consider updating their estate plan regularly.

However, there may be times when an estate plan needs to be altered sooner rather than later. Here's when:

1. Marriage

It's a common occurrence to update an estate plan after marriage. The testator can be sure that if they suffer a fatal accident, then their newly beloved is cared for. In other words, many people list their spouse as a beneficiary so that there's no confusion as to whom the testator's assets will go to.

Another thing that people do is list their spouse as a power of attorney. By doing this, the spouse can make medical and financial decisions on behalf of the testator. This is often done because the testator believes that their spouse will have the testator's best interests in mind. 

2. Divorce

Conversely, people may want to consider updating their estate plans after a divorce. People often forget that they included their spouse in their estate plan. By forgetting to make changes, testators may be giving their ex-spouse an inheritance that could be given to someone else. Furthermore, the ex-spouse may be a power of attorney but doesn't have the best interest of the testator in mind.

3. Beneficiary death

Unfortunately, there are times when a beneficiary may pass away before a testator. When this happens, an estate plan often needs to reflect these changes. Testators could designate a new heir, such as the deceased heir's children, or create a charitable trust on behalf of the deceased heir. 

4. Childbirth 

One more reason to update an estate plan is that the testator or the testator's children recently had a child. The testator may want to make a trust. Or, if the testator has a child, they may wish to name a child guardian in the unfortunate event of the testator's passing.

There are many more reasons why an estate plan should be updated. But, generally, an estate plan may need to be updated yearly as the testator builds up their estate.

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