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When should you update your estate plan?

Creating an estate plan is an excellent first step. However, it isn’t something you can do one time and forget about it.

Your life will go through multiple phases that may bring significant changes. Here are some that may require you to revise your estate plan:

1. Marriage

In addition to bringing joy and happiness, marriage also brings significant legal and financial considerations. Updating your estate plan to reflect your new status may involve including your spouse in your will and designating them as a beneficiary for retirement accounts or insurance policies.

2. Birth or adoption of a child

The arrival of a new family member is another life event that should prompt a review of your estate plan. You will want to name a guardian for your child in your will and consider setting up a trust to provide them with financial security for their future.

3. Divorce

A divorce can have a huge impact on your estate plan. You will likely want to remove your former spouse from your will and other documents. You may want to name someone else if they are your power of attorney. Changing the beneficiary designation on your investment accounts and insurance policies is also important.

4. Death

The death of a spouse, child or other loved one is a devastating blow. It may also have profound implications for your estate plan. You may need to change beneficiaries, update trusts and name a different executor and power of attorney.

5. Significant change in assets

A substantial increase in wealth can affect your estate plan in several ways. You may need to implement strategies to minimize estate tax liability and avoid your estate going into probate.

6. Retirement

Retirement is a major life transition. You may need to adjust your estate plan to reflect changes in income and potential long-term needs.

Estate planning is an ongoing process. An outdated plan may not accurately reflect your wishes and could lead to unintended consequences. Working with someone to review your plan can help ensure your documents are legally sound and continue to meet your goals.