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When and why you should update your estate plan

Estate plans are not static. Everyone wishes that they were -- that we could just create them and forget about them, and that the plans themselves would adapt to life changes and legal changes over time. But that Utopian world doesn't exist. We have to change our estate plans, and often, when the world around us changes.

So what are some examples of events that warrant a review of your estate plan? Let's take a look at a few common ones:

  • If the laws change in your state in regards to wills or estate plans, then you need to review your will or estate plan immediately. That change could dramatically impact the way your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries and heirs.
  • If any of your beneficiaries die, or if your relationship dramatically changes with any of them, then you should update your will to reflect that.
  • Divorce or marriage are two of the biggest reasons to change your will or estate plan.
  • Similarly, if you have children, or if your children have children, then you should review your estate plan and make the necessary changes to reflect your expanding family.
  • If your estate acquires a significant asset, or if the value of your estate suddenly changes (may it be for the worse or the better) then you need to review your estate and will.
  • Last but not least, even if none of these things happen, you should review your estate every few years.

Source: FindLaw, "Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents," Accessed July 21, 2017

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