If you already have an estate plan in place, then you have started off on the right footing. However, an estate plan is not something you create, lock up in some safe deposit box and forget about it. On the contrary, it is recommended that you review and revise it from time to time or after going through a major life change.
Experts advise that you should review and update your estate plan every three to five years. And this means doing more than just updating your will. A comprehensive estate plan comes with other documents such as the last will and statement, a durable power of attorney, revocable living trust as well as a health care power of attorney, among others.
Here are two life events that should prompt a review and update of your estate plan.
When you get married
Whether it is the first or subsequent marriage, it is important that you update your estate plan as soon as you tie the knot. Remember, the law does not automatically recognize your spouse as your heir by virtue of marriage. By updating your estate plan, you will be spelling out what you want your spouse to get upon your demise.
When children come along
Once you get children, it is vital that you name their guardian in your will. If you fail to name a guardian, the court will have no choice but to name someone to act as a guardian should something happen to you before they turn 18. Alongside naming a guardian, it is also important that you set up a trust for your children so that they can get their inheritance when they get older. And as your children become adults, you need to revise your estate plan to reflect these changes. Remember, once they turn 18, your children will neither need a guardian nor a trust.
Everyone ought to have an estate plan. An up-to-date estate plan gives you peace of mind knowing your estate will be distributed as per your wishes when you are no longer around to make the crucial decision.