Having an estate plan is a smart step, no matter your income level, the size of your estate or the value of the assets you have. However, simply having plans in place may not be enough to protect your interests. It is also critical to review and update plans as needed every few years.
As Arizona readers know, one of the biggest estate planning mistakes a person can make is to fail to have an estate plan. This leads to complications for loved ones and other issues with the estate in the future. Another grave mistake is to fail to update the plan after significant life events or after several years have passed.
How do you know it's time to update?
Generally, significant life events may merit changes and updates to existing estate plans. This includes divorce, remarriage, the birth of additional children and more. You may think that because you have an estate plan that you have no need to worry, but that may not be the case. If you experienced any of the following events, it may be time to think about updating any estate planning documents you drafted in the past:
- You moved from one state to another state that has different laws that could affect you or your beneficiaries in the future.
- You have new, significantly valuable assets, or you experienced a major increase or decrease in your assets, liability or income level.
- Your desires for your beneficiaries have changed, heirs have died or you have new children to include.
- The original person named as executor of your estate is no longer able to do it, or you do not want that person to have that responsibility.
If you need to update plans, you will find it helpful to learn more about the specific steps you need to take to accomplish that goal.
Protecting your hard-earned assets
You worked hard to build your estate, and you should have the final say in what happens to your money and assets. Failing to update your plan or review the terms of your documents can mean that things will not go as you hoped.
If you are not certain of what to do or what changes could be beneficial, a complete evaluation of your case with an experienced estate planning attorney can be informative. It is always smart to know your rights and options before making decisions that could impact your future or the interests of your beneficiaries.