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Can I update my estate plan?

Many people mistakenly believe that once an estate plan is created, it is set in stone. However, the truth is quite the opposite. Life’s unpredictable nature requires your estate plan to be flexible and adaptable. Whether it’s due to changes in your family, finances, or preferences, updating your estate plan is not only possible but often necessary to ensure it accurately reflects your current wishes and circumstances. In this blog, we’ll explore the common reasons for updating an estate plan and how to do it effectively.

When to Update Your Estate Plan:

  1. Marriage or Divorce: Significant changes in your marital status are prime reasons to update your estate plan. This might mean adding a spouse as a beneficiary or removing an ex-spouse from wills and trusts.
  2. Birth or Adoption of a Child: The addition of a new family member is a joyous event that should prompt a review of your estate plan. This includes designating guardianships and adjusting how your assets are distributed.
  3. Financial Changes: If you experience a substantial increase or decrease in your financial assets, revising your estate plan can help protect these assets and ensure they are allocated according to your current wishes.
  4. Changes in Law: Estate planning laws can change, impacting everything from tax implications to the legal validity of your existing documents. Keeping your plan updated in accordance with current laws is crucial.
  5. Moving to a New State: Since estate planning laws vary by state, moving to a new state should prompt a review of your estate plan to ensure it complies with local laws.
  6. Health Considerations: Changes in your health or that of a beneficiary can also necessitate revisions to your estate plan, particularly concerning directives for medical care and decision-making powers.

How to Update Your Estate Plan:

  1. Review Regularly: It’s a good practice to review your estate plan every three to five years or after any major life event.
  2. Consult with Your Estate Planning Attorney: Updating legal documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney typically requires professional guidance to ensure they are legally sound and reflect your intentions accurately.
  3. Make Necessary Changes: This might involve drafting new documents or amending existing ones. Your attorney can help you determine the best approach based on your specific circumstances.

Your estate plan is a living document that should evolve as your life does. At Allenby Law, we understand the dynamics of life changes and are here to assist you in keeping your estate plan aligned with your goals and needs. Updating your estate plan is an act of foresight and responsibility, ensuring that your legacy is preserved and your loved ones are cared for according to your current wishes.

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