Rather than put off estate planning, you chose to tackle it early. Maybe becoming a parent made you realize how important leaving a legacy was, or perhaps you didn’t want your house to go to your parents when you died.
While procrastination is one of the worst estate planning mistakes someone can make, it is far from the only one. Never revisiting your estate plan and letting it become outdated can be just as bad.
An inaccurate estate plan can lead to challenges by family members that convince the court to toss out your carefully considered last wishes. If it’s been a while since you created or looked at your estate plan, any of the situations below could be reason to update your documents.
Your marital status changed
Maybe you were single when you first planned your estate and have since gotten married. Maybe you got divorced or your spouse died. If your marital status changes, your estate plan should too, as spouses often play a major role in one another’s estate documents.
You have added or lost children or grandchildren
Other than spouses, children and grandchildren are often the primary beneficiaries of estate plans. Whether you had more children since you created your estate plan, have added a second generation to your family or lost a family member, updating your documents so they accurately reflect who is in your family is important to their accuracy.
Your health has changed
Aging can mean deteriorating health and also a shifting perspective on medical treatment. If you don’t have an advance directive for health care, you may be giving serious thought to getting one. If you already have one, you may need to update your documents to reflect any changes to your medical wishes.
There are many other reasons why people may update their estate plan, such as adding a pet to their family, starting a business or selling their home which was previously the focus of their will. When your financial or family situation changes, your estate plan should as well.