FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-30
Estate planning is something most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. Even among those of us with estate planning documents in place, updating them often takes a back seat to other, seemingly more pressing concerns. There will be time for that later, right?
Unfortunately, there is not always time — you never know when your estate planning documents will be needed. And, if something has happened in your life since the last time you drafted a will, power of attorney, directive to physicians or other estate planning documents, your family could pay a dire price.
Relationship Transformations, Property Accumulation or Moving All Reasons to Reconsider Your Plan
Changing your documents is not typically an arduous task — an attorney who specializes in estate planning and guardianship can help you expediently put updates in place. But, this small investment of forethought is critically important following certain life events.
One of the most common is a change in some relationship. Did you get a divorce and no longer wish to name your former spouse as a beneficiary? Have you grown apart from the relative you formerly designated to handle important responsibilities in the event of your incapacitation? Are your children now grown up (possibly eliminating the need for protective measures built into your current documents, but also creating new estate considerations)? If any relationship critical to your estate plan has transformed in some way, your documents need to reflect it.
What about your assets? Do you have more, less or different property than when you first started estate planning? While increased or decreased wealth or changes to a family business are important to take into account, so is the accumulation of personal property; believe it or not, just as many family conflicts arise over who gets sentimentally-valued personal effects as over slicing up significant wealth.
Age also means you might be thinking more about your legacy. Restructuring your long-term estate plan is one great way to help support the things you are most passionate about.
Finally, simply the passage of time is reason enough to take a new look at your estate plan. Most experts recommend at least a quick review of estate planning documents every three to five years.
Call an Estate Planning Attorney to Update Your Documents
A comprehensive estate plan ensures that your wishes are respected and makes things far easier on your loved ones. If your estate plan has been shelved for too long, see an estate planning attorney today — an estate plan can be one of the greatest gifts you leave for your family.