If you already have an estate plan in place, you might wonder whether you ever need to revisit it. Are there life changes that virtually require a new will?
You bet there are. And it’s probably much more frequent than you think. Life events that trigger an estate plan review include:
When you get married: If you are tying the knot, it is essential that you account for all your assets both prior to and after the marriage and decide as a couple how you would like your assets distributed in the event of your death.
When you have a child: Whether you are single or married at the time you become a parent, ensuring that someone is designated as a guardian for your child should you pass before they turn 18 is imperative. This is not a decision for the courts.
When you get divorced: If your marriage has ended you may find yourself with greater or fewer assets. Either way, the will you have in place is no longer suitable once your decree is signed on the dotted line. Make sure you change it as soon as your final paperwork is on the way to the judge—and have it become effective the same day as your divorce.
When you get remarried: You’ve found love again! This second marriage includes a blended family. Where do you want those assets to go—are you happy with them being split among all children or should only your children inherit? Do you want your spouse to have your entire estate or just a portion? Now is the time to decide.
When the kids leave home: Once the kids grow up and are out on their own, their needs are different. You no longer need to consider who will raise them, and you don’t have to worry about college expenses if you pass before they graduate. Maybe this is the time to consider setting up a trust for your grandkids.
A new life means a new estate plan. Be diligent and make sure yours is up-to-date. When the time comes that it is needed, for your family, it will mean the difference between protracted court proceedings and a peaceful passing.