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Helping People Age with Dignity

Is it time to revise your estate plan?

Given that we are almost a week into 2017, chances are very good that those individuals who made New Year's resolutions are now finding it harder to break their old habits and stick to their new goals. Indeed, the regular trips to the gym might already be getting increasingly tedious while the ability to resist that extra dinner portion might be getting increasingly difficult.

While these efforts at self-improvement are to be applauded, it should be noted that New Year's resolutions don't necessarily have to be confined to this area. For example, a person could commit to getting their retirement accounts in order or, as is recommended by many experts, revisiting their estate plan over the next 12 months.

Even though the idea of revisiting an estate plan might seem decidedly unglamorous and even unnecessary, experts indicate that such a step is always in a person's best interests as it helps ensures that their estate plan reflects not just their goals, but their current goals.

Indeed, they indicate that the need to revisit -- and revise -- an estate plan becomes all the more acute should any of the following life events take place:

  • Divorce/remarriage: Upon the conclusion of divorce proceedings, experts indicate that everything from a living will to beneficiary designations must be revised to ensure that the split is indeed final. As for a remarriage, they indicate that it becomes an absolute necessity if one or both spouses have children from a prior union.
  • Injury/illness: If a serious injury or illness should befall you or a family member, experts advise revisiting an estate plan to ensure it accounts for the affected person's new reality.
  • Adoption/birth: As hectic as it can be to welcome a child into a family, experts indicate that it's imperative for parents to revisit their estate plan to ensure that their newest addition would be properly cared for via a guardianship and provided for financially via the necessary instruments (trusts, etc.).

Here's hoping more people make revisiting or even forming an estate plan a priority in 2017.

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