Your estate plan is an integral part of your life. It’s something you create once and then update regularly to reflect your changing needs, risk tolerance, and personal circumstances. As your life changes, so too will your estate plan.
Keeping it updated is essential to making sure that your assets go where you want them to when the time comes. An estate plan can be either simple or complex, depending on your needs and circumstances.
If you’re looking to update your estate plan, there are a few things you should consider first. An updated estate plan not only helps you protect what’s most important—but it also allows you to give back in a way that feels natural for you.
Here, we discuss some factors that might indicate it’s time for a new will, trust, or other estate planning documents. And if you need to update your estate plan to ensure it’s current, be sure to contact Doane & Doane. We specialize in estate planning and can help you ensure that your documents are up to date.
What Is an Estate Plan and Why Do You Need One?
An estate plan is a comprehensive collection of documents that legally determine what happens to your assets after you die. This includes your bank accounts, real estate, investments, life insurance policy, and any other property you own.
Your estate plan should also include your wishes for end-of-life care in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself.
Creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones. It ensures that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of—even if you’re no longer here to do it yourself.
What Does an Estate Plan Include?
A well-crafted estate plan will address both your financial and personal wishes. This includes:
Your will: A document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed after you die.
Your trust: A legal arrangement that allows you to set aside money or property for specific beneficiaries.
Your power of attorney: A document that gives someone else the authority to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated.
Your living will: A document that outlines your end-of-life care preferences in the event that you cannot make decisions for yourself.
Why You Should Keep Your Estate Plan Current
While an estate plan is a critical tool for protecting your assets and loved ones, it’s important to keep it updated as your life changes.
Here are a few reasons why you should keep your estate plan current:
Your personal circumstances have changed: Marriage, divorce, the birth of a child—these are all major life events that can impact your estate plan.
Your assets have changed: As you accumulate more assets, you’ll need to update your estate plan to make sure they’re taken care of after you die.
The law has changed: Estate planning laws are constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments.
Your wishes have changed: As you get older, your wishes for how you want your assets to be distributed after you die are likely to change.
If any of these circumstances apply to you, it’s time to update your estate plan.
Keep Your Estate Plan Current with Doane & Doane
At Doane & Doane, we know your estate plan is a vital component of your life. That’s why we specialize in assisting our clients in creating and maintaining comprehensive estate plans that address their unique needs and circumstances.
If you need help updating your estate plan, we can assist you. We’ll review your current situation and make recommendations for how to update your documents to reflect your changing needs. Contact us today to get started.
Know What Can Trigger the Need for an Estate Plan Change
There are many life changes that might necessitate an update to your estate plan. Let’s briefly review some of the most common events so that you know when it’s time to take action.
1. You’ve married, divorced, or remarried
2. You’ve had or adopted a child
3. You’ve moved to a new state
4. You’ve started a business
5. You’ve come into a large sum of money
6. You’ve experienced a change in health
7. Your beneficiary has changed their financial situation
8. You no longer feel comfortable with your original choices
9. You want to make changes to how your assets will be distributed
10. You want to change your executor
Making changes to your estate plan is a personal decision. Some people are comfortable making small changes as their lives progress, while others wait until there’s a major life event before updating their documents.
You know your circumstances better than anyone. If you have any questions about whether or not you should update your estate plan, we encourage you to contact us. We can help you determine what changes need to be made, if any.
The Importance of Reviewing Your Estate Plan Regularly
Even if nothing has changed in your life, it’s important to review your estate plan regularly. At a minimum, you should review it every three to five years. This will ensure that your documents are up to date and reflect your current wishes.
If you have a trust, it’s especially important to review it regularly. Trusts can be complex documents, and they often need to be updated as the laws change.
You should also review your estate plan if there’s been a change in the law that might affect your documents. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made major changes to the estate tax.
As a result, some people who previously didn’t need to worry about the estate tax now need to take it into consideration.
Doane & Doane Can Help You Update Your Estate Plan
Updating your estate plan is an important task, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. At Doane & Doane, we specialize in estate planning and can help you ensure that your documents are up to date and current.
We understand the importance of having an updated estate plan, and we can help you make changes that reflect your current wishes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you update your estate plan. Please call 561-656-0200 or contact us via our contact form to get started.