There is an old saying that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans, and that is certainly true when it comes to wills and estate planning. Planning your estate and dividing up your assets post-death is not something most people want to think about, and once the job is done, many would prefer to forget about the whole subject. The problem with that once-and-done attitude is that life does indeed change, and those changes are taking place around you, all while you are busy making those other plans and living your everyday life. If you have not revisited, reviewed, and revised your will for some time, it may be time to give your attorney a call. Here are eight good reasons to review your will and estate plan today.
1. You just got married. Your will and estate plan will likely change significantly when you move from single to married, and that makes a thorough review absolutely vital. There is no need to interrupt your honeymoon, but it is a good idea to contact your estate planning attorney when you get home.
2. You get divorced. The other side of the marital coin is just as important, if not more so, at least from an estate planning process. If you fail to remove your former spouse from your will or estate plan, they could end up inheriting your property, a situation you likely would rather avoid.
3. You have a new family member. The birth or adoption of a child is another reason to review and revise your will. With a brand new person to protect, it's important to make sure your will and estate plan are up to date.
4. A family member becomes disabled or suffers a life-changing injury. Your estate plan can provide vital protections for loved ones who can no longer care for themselves, and it's important to contact your attorney if someone you care about is partially or totally disabled or if they have suffered a profound injury.
5. An adult child leaves the nest. Your estate plan may have included provisions for the care of your minor children, but now those kids are grown and gone. That does not necessarily mean they will no longer be part of your will and estate plan, but it does mean their needs may now be different.
6. You are planning to retire. Your financial needs change when you retire, and that includes your need for sound financial planning and a will to protect your loved ones. If you are already retired or planning to be, it may be time to give your attorney a call.
7. You have moved to a new state. The laws governing wills and estate plans can vary widely from state to state, so much so that these documents may require a total rewrite. If you have moved to a new state or plan to in the near future, it's important to make sure all your financial documents are up to date.
8. It has been a long time since you first drew up your will and estate plan. The simple passage of time can be reason enough to revisit and possibly revise these vital documents. If you cannot remember the last time you checked your will, it may be time for a reread.
It may not be a pleasant subject to think about, but having a will and estate plan that is accurate and up to date is essential for the financial well-being of your family. Above all, you want these documents to reflect your wishes and protect your loved ones, and any of the eight life events listed above should be reason enough to give your estate plan a thorough review.