Your estate plan is your legacy. Regardless of how carefully composed and crafted, and how many provisions it includes, it’s a living document which will need regular maintenance. Your assets, family, and goals will grow and shift over time, so you must revisit your estate plan regularly to account for those changes. It is much harder to honor your wishes and goals when your estate plan is out of date, and many of the most important decisions could be left in the hands of a complete stranger if your estate plan doesn’t reflect your current circumstances and the current law. Experts recommend that you review and update your estate plan with your estate planning attorney every 3 to 5 years or after any major life change.
- A Change in Your Marital Status
One’s spouse is often the cornerstone of their estate plan and how they intend for it to be administered. If you’ve recently divorced or if you’ve suffered the loss of your spouse, your estate plan won’t be automatically updated to reflect that change. Similarly, if you remarried, your new spouse isn’t automatically written into your estate plan. Therefore, if you’ve had any change in marital status, you’ll need to update your estate plan accordingly.
- A Change in Your Family Dynamic
Welcoming a new member into your family – be it a child, stepchild, grandchild, in-law, or otherwise – is one of the most common reasons to update your estate plan. You should also update your estate plan whenever one of your children reaches the age of majority, as the necessary provisions to provide for a minor child differ drastically from leaving assets to an adult child. If you’ve suffered a loss, it’s important to revisit your estate plan to ensure that any role they had been assigned is re-assigned to someone who is able to fulfil those duties and to ensure that any assets you intended to leave them are re-allocated according to your wishes.
- A Change in Your Finances
Whether positive or negative, any significant change in financial assets can drastically alter how your estate will be administered. Therefore, such a change should trigger a review of your estate plan. Moreover, with time, your financial goals and charitable desires may change, so it’s important that your estate plan reflects your current wishes and not the wishes you may have had a decade ago, or longer.
- A Change in Your Health
Your estate plan addresses more than just what happens when your life is over. A comprehensive estate plan includes your wishes, intentions, and provisions for how your affairs should be conducted if you become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for yourself. Your estate plan will appoint a person, or multiple people, to make decisions on your behalf both medically and financially, and can outline how you would want those decisions made. It’s important to revisit your estate plan regularly to ensure that the person or people you’ve designated are willing and able to make those decisions for you, especially if you’ve had a change in your health circumstances.
- A Change in the Law
Probate law and the laws around estate administration are changing continually. It’s important to revisit your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney regularly to ensure that your estate plan remains effective under the changing laws. Moreover, taxation law regarding estate planning is also continually shifting, so it’s beneficial to review your estate plan regularly to maximize potential tax deductions.
Dallas Probate Attorney
With over 85 years of probate experience, Norris & Weber has been proudly serving the people of Dallas and the greater Texas community since 1926. We offer comprehensive probate services tailored to your unique needs. It’s our mission to deliver compassionate, responsive, and timely service, while also providing relentless and zealous advocacy. Let us get started protecting your legacy and your family’s future. Contact our team today or call us at (214)-521-1520 so we can get started helping you.