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When to Update Your Estate Plan: 5 Common Life Events

Estate planning is an important process that helps ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. However, many people mistakenly believe that creating an estate plan is a one-time event. The truth is you’ll need a different estate plan at different points in your life, one that evolves to meet your changing estate planning needs. How often should you update your estate plan? We recommend taking a look once every five years or so. But if you experience any of the following life events, it may be time for an update.

1. Changes in Your Family that Warrant an Update

Anytime you experience a change to your family structure, it’s a good idea to meet with your estate planning attorney to make sure your estate plan reflects your current wishes and goals for your family. Whether you’re getting married or divorced, having children or grandchildren, or have experienced the death of a loved one, you will want to update your estate plan accordingly.

2. Changes in Your Financial Situation

Whether you’ve experienced a financial windfall, are looking to retire, or are anticipating a significant loss, it’s a good idea to sit down with your attorney to go over how these financial changes will impact your estate plan. You want to make sure you’re protecting your assets and legacy for the long-run.

3. Changes in the Law

Because estate planning laws and regulations change over time, it’s important to meet with your attorney to ensure your current plan will accomplish what it’s supposed to given current laws and regulations. One big example of this is the recent change in gifting allowances, which now provide for a much larger gifting allowance. Should this law sunset, as it is expected to do at the end of 2025, you will want to make sure your estate will not be subject to gift tax.

4. Changes in Your Health

If you experience a decline in your health or anticipate becoming incapacitated in the near future, it’s a good idea to update your estate plan. Your attorney can ensure not only that your assets are protected from creditors but also that you have the appropriate powers of attorney in place to allow your trusted agents to handle your affairs when you cannot.

5. Changes in Your Beneficiaries’ Circumstances

Accounting for changes in your beneficiaries’ lives is just as important as accounting for changes in your own. Whenever your named beneficiaries experience significant life changes, like those named above, you’ll want to make sure your estate plan keeps pace with these changes. For example, if one of your beneficiaries becomes disabled, it may be a good idea to create a special needs trust that will provide for them when you cannot.

Danielle M. PierceAt Pierce Legal, we get to know each of our clients, gaining a meaningful understanding and relationship that allows us to create a thorough estate plan that will satisfy all of your estate planning goals and needs. We can help ensure your estate plan is keeping pace with your evolving needs and goals. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at (330) 588-6115.

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