Like so many people, you may have created your estate plan documents, then put them away in a safe place. That was so long ago you may have forgotten just what you did with them.
In that case, the time has come to find and review those documents. No doubt a lot has happened in your life since you put them away, and you need an update to reflect the changes.
Why people delay
Some people delay updating their estate plan because they anticipate sensitive and therefore uncomfortable conversations with potential heirs. Some delay because the cost is not in their budget. However, the main reason people put off making revisions is that once they execute estate planning documents, they simply forget about them. However, an estate plan does not run on autopilot.
Noting the changes in your life
What are the changes that have happened in your life since you created your estate plan? Here are a few things to think about:
- You have divorced and remarried
- You now have grandchildren
- One or more of your beneficiaries has died
- The executor you named in your will is deceased
- You wish to remove or add beneficiaries
- You sold an asset listed in your estate plan
- You acquired a new asset
- The value of your estate has increased or decreased
Keep in mind that major life events make estate plan updating necessary. Otherwise, assets may go to the wrong people after you are gone, and family arguments may erupt. Remember that your estate plan is the foundation for a responsible, workable wealth transfer plan.
You cannot know what will happen to you tomorrow, let alone a decade from now. Thinking about updating your estate plan will only cause you restless nights until you meet with your attorney and make the necessary revisions. With a little preparation, to include a list of potential changes, the task of updating your estate plan may go smoother than you expect.