Changes in circumstances that should start an estate plan review

One concern that some individuals have when they are creating an estate plan is what will happen if things change with their situation. The good news is that with the exception of an irrevocable trust, it is fairly easy to change the estate plan as necessary. Whether you have already set your estate plan or are working on it now, you should know some of the situations that might signal you need to look at the terms of it to ensure that it still reflects your wishes.

If you get married, you need to take a close look at the estate plan. You will likely want to ensure that your spouse is taken care of if you pass away. But what about children from a previous relationship or other family members that you have already promised to care for? You need to be sure that those considerations are reflected in the estate plan, but the way you do this might have to change, so ask your estate planning attorney for guidance. The plan must also reflect what will happen if you and your spouse pass away at the same time.

When you have children, you need to update the plan. You will need to include guardianship information and may need to shift some assets into trusts or take other measures to ensure that the children will be cared for if you pass away before they reach adulthood.

Reviewing the estate plan is also necessary if one of your beneficiaries passes away, you divorce or there are major changes in your financial situation. Even external factors like changes in tax laws or a move out of the area could mean you need to take a look at it. You should also review the plan annually, even if nothing changes.

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