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The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan

  • Once your estate planning documents are signed, you cannot ignore them. Check with your estate planning attorney every few years to keep these documents up to date. If you fail to update your estate plan frequently enough, your documents may not protect your family. At the very least, you should update your documents each time one of the following occurs:

    1. Birth of a child

    2. Death or incapacity of a beneficiary

    3. Divorce

    4. Marriage

    5. Moving to a different state

    The birth of a new child into your family may require you to work on additional elements of your estate plan other than just changing beneficiaries. For example, in the case of you passing away while the child is still a minor, it is necessary to name guardianship in your will. You may also consider creating a trust for your child. The best option is to discuss with your estate planning lawyer regarding how to best handle your estate planning with regard to this new addition to your family.

    If you get married, you probably will want to add your new spouse to your estate plan. If it is you second or third marriage, you may want to provide for both your new spouse and for children from a prior marriage. You also might want to appoint your new spouse as your health care agent and list them on your HIPPA release.

    Finally, you should always update your will any time you move to a new state. Each state has different requirements for your estate planning documents to be effective. To be sure your documents are still effective you should at least consult with an estate planning lawyer in your new state.