Life Events that Should Trigger an Update to Your Estate Plan

Life Events that Should Trigger an Update to Your Estate Plan

You’re the proud owner of a legal Will and you should be. After years of accumulating savings, you’ve taken good action steps by creating an estate plan. This an important personal goal and should now not be forgotten about.

While having all your estate planning documents completed and secured in a safe place is an accomplishment, legal documents do require revisiting, especially when milestone life events occur. The following are key life events that should prompt you to make changes to your will:

The Purchase or Refinance of Property

Real estate is an asset. Whoever is named on the title and mortgage will end up with the property if jointly owned when one person passes. If singly owned, you’d still want to have a beneficiary named in your will, and/or have the property put into a trust because laws vary for each state.  Having property held in a trust can protect its value from creditors or taxes when sold.

Getting Married, Divorced, or the Death of a Spouse

Often when people marry, they assume the spouse will inherit all assets. Survivorship laws vary state by state, with each state including the District of Columbia having its own laws that decide who inherits what when someone dies without a will.  When marital status changes, your will must be updated to avoid probate and assets going to someone you didn’t intend them to.

Opening a New Brokerage, Savings, or Insurance Account

Will require you to name a beneficiary. This is an opportune time and necessary requirement to declare who you want to receive these assets when you pass.

Birth or Death of a Child

Having a child through adoption, birth, or fostering is a joyous occasion and requires naming a guardian for your child in your estate plan. This declaration provides protection for your child in the unforeseen circumstance you pass before they reach adulthood. If your child passes your will needs updating to reallocate the estate distribution and renaming beneficiaries on all accounts.

Moving to a New State

Because each state has different intestate succession laws, you need to update your will when moving to a new state.  Remember too, those laws can change and is another reason to use an estate planning attorney in the state you reside when updating your will.  Click here for a list of each state’s intestate succession laws.

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