Planning for the future often involves writing a will and creating a comprehensive estate plan. Creating these plans is an important step, but it’s by no means the first and last time to think about your estate throughout your lifetime.
Any number of factors may influence a person or couple’s estate plan. Positive life changes as well as the negatives might prompt an update to a will or trust, meaning you should keep all estate plans up-to-date with the changes that happen over the years.
Important times to update an estate plan
Many people choose to wait until after major life milestones pass to formulate an original will, but single people can also benefit from prompt estate planning. Creating this first iteration makes it that much easier to update a will as those milestones come to pass. When should you think about updating an estate plan? Some instances may include:
- Buying a home or other property
- Getting married
- Becoming a parent
- Starting a new business
- Getting divorced
- Losing loved ones
- Changing or leaving a business
- Substantial changes in personal wealth
The more obvious times to change a will may seem to be when positive changes happen in a person’s life. Getting married and starting a family should prompt an updated estate plan to account for dependents’ care and future beneficiaries. The other times to update a will during your life may not be as positive.
Losing a loved one or closing a business should initiate an updated estate plan as well. If you’ve chosen to designate a person as a beneficiary, a potential guardian for your children or an executor of your estate, make sure this person can actually complete these tasks. If that person moves, becomes ill or dies, your estate plan needs an update to reflect relevant information.
Keeping up with life‘s changes
It may not always be a major milestone that prompts an updated will. Sometimes it’s the mere passage of time that could affect your future plans. Children grow up, move out and build their own lives. Account for their changes in your plans as they happen. Your spouse, business partner, children, grandchildren and other beneficiaries will have their own life changes over time that may affect your plans as well. Consider the relevance of your estate plan and keep it up-to-date throughout your lifetime to ensure fulfillment of your final wishes.