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6 Signs It’s Prime Time To Revamp Your Estate Plan

Apr 22, 2024 | Estate Planning

If you have already taken the initiative to set up a will or trust, you are off to a great start. You should feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you have taken the initiative to provide a strong foundation for your family. Creating an estate plan is far more than what most people have done to protect their family’ financial future. It is admirable that you are taking care of your family, and they should be very appreciative of your efforts!

You undoubtedly invested a lot of time and effort in creating your estate plan at the time, considering what your loved ones would require down the road. However, there is a chance that your situation has changed, along with your expectations for the future, and your original plan may no longer be in line with your objectives.

If it has been a while since you have reviewed your estate plan, there is a good chance you will need to make some changes. It’s recommended that you review and update your estate plan at least once every 3 years, but it’s especially critical in the face of any of the following reasons:

1. Changes To The Family Structure

There will inevitably be changes in your family over time. It is possible that since you last looked over your estate plan, the dynamics of your family have undergone some changes. This is particularly true if you have been married and subsequently divorced, recently welcomed a new child, or even sadly lost a loved one. In any of these situations, and potentially others, if your family has changed, then you should check your estate plan to ensure it matches your current family situation.

If you have new members of your family, you want to make sure your estate plan includes them. In the event that you got married again after your divorce, you might want to make sure your new spouse is included in your estate plan in addition to dropping your former spouse from the list of beneficiaries. Additionally, you may want to include any stepchildren, adopted children, or grandchildren in your estate plan. If your relationship with your children has changed, you may want to change your estate plan to reflect this new relationship.

2. Your Financial Situation Has Changed

Given the significant financial implications of updating your estate plan, it is especially important to do so whenever your financial situation changes. Examples of such changes include:

  • A significant increase or decrease in your overall wealth
  • A significant change to your income
  • The purchase or sale of major assets like real estate, businesses, or investments
  • Inheriting a large sum or experiencing a significant windfall
  • Substantial changes to your debt levels
  • Changes to your investment portfolio
  • And more!

3. Laws Regarding Estates, Taxes, And Probate Have Changed

Federal and state laws are constantly changing, and your estate plan must keep up with these changes to ensure that your wishes are upheld. Though we all wish it were true, the government will not be giving you a courtesy call to inform you when federal or Utah state laws have changed!

By making sure you regularly review your estate plan with your attorney, you can ensure that your documents remain legally compliant with current guidelines. Changes like these happen more often than you think, which is why it is crucial to stay consistent with your estate plan reviews.

4. Change In Your Life Goals

The only thing that remains the same in life is change. As life evolves, our perspectives and goals shift. Your children may have grown up and become adults, and you may now have grandchildren. Retirement may have resulted in a decrease in income, or a health issue may require more attention and resources. Your assets may have increased since creating your estate plan, or you may now have the means to leave a legacy for a family member.

With age and wisdom, you may have a different perspective on how you want to distribute your assets, or you may have changed your mind about who should inherit certain items. You might even want to include in your estate plan a charitable organization that has become close to your heart. It’s important to re-evaluate your estate plan to ensure it aligns with your current goals, no matter what changes you have experienced in life.

5. Changes In Your Health

It is important to review and possibly update your estate plan if there are any changes in your physical or mental well-being, especially if they are declining. This is crucial to ensuring that your plan still reflects your desires, especially if you anticipate difficulties with decision making in the future.

If you have not yet established a living will, any advance directives, or appointed a healthcare proxy, it is recommended to do so now. It is also important to consider if any adjustments to your financial arrangements are necessary to cover future healthcare expenses. Planning for the future involves more than just the present moment; it is about ensuring that your plan can support you and your loved ones in the long term.

6. Your Executor Or Trustee Designations Have Changed.

Different situations, such as the passing of someone or ongoing disagreements, may cause you to reevaluate your decision about the person, or persons you placed in charge of managing your estate. These individuals, known as executors or trustees, hold a significant role in handling your assets. If they are no longer alive or if you have changed your mind about appointing them, it is crucial to seek guidance from your estate planning lawyer to make the desired adjustments. Their guidance will help ensure that your estate plan accurately represents your present desires and circumstances.

ProvenLaw Makes Updating Your Estate Plan Easy

If you have an estate plan that needs revising, even if it was created by another law firm, we can help! You can trust our experienced estate planning law firm to simplify the process. With over 95 years of combined experience, ProvenLaw has spent decades helping people in Utah plan for and safeguard their financial futures! Get the professional legal guidance you need to create an estate that will set your family up for success. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and discover how we can help.

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