As our lives change, our estate plans should also adapt. Like a home, a car, or even your health, an estate plan needs regular checkups to see if it requires any updates. Ideally, you should review your estate plan every three years or whenever a major milestone occurs (and more often, the older you get). While you're still capable, around the start or end of every year is a good time to consider if it needs to reflect changes in the law, your life, or your legacy. (Another good reminder is your birthday.)
Why an Estate Plan "Checkup" is Recommended
Without a review, your assets and your loved ones may not be protected as you intend. Some of the most common reasons to keep your estate plan current include events such as:
• A marriage or a divorce;
• Childbirth or an adoption;
• An increase or decrease in assets (buying or selling a home, receiving an inheritance, bankruptcy, etc.);
• Moving to another state;
• Opening or closing a business;
• Changes in health; and
• The death or disability of a beneficiary, trustee, agent, guardian, or your nominee for Personal Representative of your estate (AKA, the executor).
Going over your estate plan routinely makes it less of a task and more of a ritual that embraces your past and honors your future. Among the first steps to take when you think about updating your estate plan is to ask some important questions. You can then have an estate planning attorney review it to see if it's consistent with your wishes and current laws. They may also go over your beneficiary designations and titles to your assets.
Regular reviews can help you leave the legacy you want. And if you did your estate plan yourself through an online service or used store-bought forms, having an estate planning attorney analyze it may ensure it's complete and legally valid in your state.
Once you do so, you can feel comfortable knowing that the future for you and your loved ones is more secure.
If you need help reviewing or updating your estate plan, contact us online or call us today: (207) 377-6966. We would be glad to check it to see if it's up-to-date.