When to Update Your Estate Plan

The only constant in life is change. There are plenty of (reasonably) foreseeable changes that substantially affect your life—marriage, children, retirement. There are also just as many unforeseen changes that warrant a second look at your estate plan. While you don’t need to make changes to your estate plan after every little change, a few events make it necessary for you and your lawyer to make sure it is accomplishing what you wish. 

  1. Moving across state lines. The most recent census figures showed more U.S. citizens moving to Texas than any other state in the country. If you are a recent transplant, we welcome you to the Lone Star State. Your estate documents will likely need tweaking to conform to Texas law. Of course, now is as good a time as any to get started on your plan. 
  2. Birth of children. Having children is one of the most common life events that spurs adults to create an estate plan. It’s not comfortable to think about, but something could happen to you and the other parent before your child reaches adulthood. You need to name a guardian who would care for your minor child, and you also need a trusted individual to maintain your child’s assets until he or she assumes legal control. There are many ways to get creative with your estate plan so your children would be financially secure in your absence.
  3. Marriage or divorce. If you pass away without a Will or estate plan, your spouse will already receive a substantial portion (or all) of your estate; the exact portion depends on whether you have kids. And, if you divorce before you have a chance to modify your estate plan, your ex-spouse is automatically removed from your Will. Still, that leaves plenty of other estate planning forms that need a re-work after a marriage or divorce. Who will be your new health care proxy or agent for your powers of attorney? 
  4. Death in the family. You need to revise any estate planning documents that contain the name of someone close to you who passes away during your lifetime. Dealing with the sudden death of a spouse is a little different than revising your estate plan after a divorce. 
  5. Every 3–5 years. Even if it may not seem like many life events happened in the past few years, it is still worth looking over your estate plan to make sure it is still in accordance with your life and goals. As we mentioned earlier, change is constant, and our busy lives don’t always allow us to react to those changes properly and effectively. 

Your Future Needs Securing

Plenty more reasons to update your estate plan exist beyond the ones we covered in this blog. The overarching point we want to hammer home is that your estate plan should be treated as a living document (or set of documents). Timely maintenance of your estate plan is the only way to ensure that your loved ones and assets will be taken care of in your absence. 

Albright & Lumpkin is happy to answer any questions you have about estate planning, probate, or other legal matters. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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Albright & Lumpkin, PC

At Albright & Lumpkin, we help individuals, families, and business owners achieve their goals and protect their futures.

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