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Reasons To Keep Your Estate Plan Current

Posted on August 30th, 2022

If you already have an estate plan established, then you are on the right path. But if you have yet to tackle this important task, then now is the time to get started. Once your estate plan is all set, the work still won’t be done yet. In fact, you will need to update these documents as life changes happen. For most people, this means reviewing their estate plan about every five years or so, unless something comes up before then. Here are common examples of life events that warrant updating an estate plan:

Marriage and Divorce

When a change in the family dynamic happens, it is a reason to update your estate plan so that it reflects the current circumstances. For instance, if you recently got divorced, then you must see to it that your documentation does not include your ex spouse in the same way you had before. You may even prefer to remove your ex’s name entirely, as most people don’t want their ex spouse to have a chunk of their money or assets after they have passed on, so these updates have to be made accordingly.

Beneficiary Change

The people in your life now may not be the same ones who are close to you in the future. This is just the nature of relationships, and some grow closer while others drift apart. Your beneficiaries are the people you want to have part of your assets after your death. Beneficiaries typically are people like your husband or wife, domestic partner, children, siblings, and other family members. Beneficiaries can also be friends and charity organizations too. 

Tax Laws

If you moved to another state recently, then your estate plan should be reviewed so that it complies with state laws for your new residence. It can help to have an estate planning lawyer, such as a Bozeman estate planning attorney from Silverman Law Office, PLLC, talk with you about the local laws. But even if you did not move to a new state, the tax laws are constantly changing, so you’ll need to stay privy to these changes and edit your estate plan as needed.

You Have Children

Your estate plan should always properly reflect the family members you have and how they may change in relation to you over time. For example, if you got married and your new spouse has children from a previous relationship, then you may want to add your stepchildren into the estate plan. Keep in mind that step kids are not usually included as beneficiaries by law unless an estate plan mentions them specifically. Step parents who consider their step children as their own may want to designate a portion of assets for them to receive in the future.

There are more reasons than those listed above to edit your estate plan documents. Most people rely on a reputable lawyer for assistance, like a team member from Silverman Law Office, PLLC, so they don’t have to navigate the task alone. Essentially, you must make sure that these documents stay current so that if you were to pass away, the instructions you left behind will be based on your true wishes.

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