An estate plan gives you a place to articulate your end-of-life wishes and describe what you would like your loved ones to do with your assets. Maintaining your plan is a continual process.
Throughout your life, you may experience significant changes that may impact your plans for the future. Updating your estate plan to reflect these changes can prevent disappointment and confusion, as well as help you preserve the function of your plan.
When to update
There are lots of circumstances which can influence the outcome of your estate plan. According to FindLaw, some notable life changes include the following:
- You acquire a significant asset
- Your state laws change
- You reach retirement age
- Your children turn 18
- You get divorced or remarried
- Your estate’s value increases or decreases
Changes to your family dynamic could also impact your beneficiaries, trustees or personal representatives. Adjusting your plan can keep your assets from ending up in the wrong hands.
Inform your family
Even if you do not experience any significant life changes, experts recommend that you update your estate plan every three to five years. If you make notable changes to your plan, your family may benefit from knowing about it. Discuss your intentions with your family and encourage open communication. Give them the opportunity to ask questions about your plan. Help participants identify their role in your plan. Share your intentions and the legacy you wish to leave behind.
Keeping your family informed in conjunction with regularly updating your plan, can facilitate understanding and unity. With a confident knowledge of what you want, your family can continue to feel comforted and supported even after your death.