There are all kinds of times when you should update your estate plan, though many people think that updates are just something to do every few years or decades. Estate plans are designed to grow and change with you as your life moves forward, so as those changes occur, you need to address them in the estate plan.
If you have a basic estate plan now, it’s important to think about how you can update it to reflect the way your life is currently. In the future, you may want to make changes, or big movements in your life may require them.
Here are five times when you should consider updating your estate plan right away, so it better reflects the way you’re living at that time.
- You get married
The first time to update your estate plan is if you get married. At that time, you may want to add your spouse to your estate plan and make sure they’re added as a health care power of attorney or other responsible party in the plan.
- You develop an illness
The next time to consider updating your estate plan is if you get sick with an illness. Update your health care orders and health care power of attorney to be sure everyone knows what you want if you are incapacitated.
- You have a child
If you have a child, then you may want to create or update guardianships. That way, if you and your spouse or partner pass away or are incapacitated, there will be someone there to care for your child.
- You inherit assets or money
If you have a sudden windfall, you may want to set up a trust or other ways of protecting those assets in your estate plan.
- Someone dies
If someone you had listed as a beneficiary, health care proxy or other party passes away, update your plan to reflect that change.
These are five times to update your estate plan. Every plan is different, so you will want to update it according to your new goals or the changes that have occurred.