An estate plan can help you organize your assets and protect the people closest to you. You can use your plan as a resource to provide guidance and comfort to your family members even after you pass away.
Having an estate plan is just the beginning. Once you have finalized your decisions, you will need to update your plan regularly to account for the changes in your life.
Major life events
As your life progresses, your family may grow and experience events that impact more than just one person. Some examples include the following:
- Unexpected illnesses or disabilities
- Marriage or divorce
- Business acquisition
- Family births and deaths
- Moving to another state
Even if nothing notable has happened in your family for a few years, experts recommend that you still look over your plan. According to Fidelity, a periodic review every three to five years can help you identify areas where modifications may fortify your plan and improve its function.
Independent of the changes within your family, your plan may feel the impact of influences outside of your control. Modifications to regulations or changes to tax law may require you to make adjustments so that your plan continues to function according to your intent.
Neglecting to update your plan throughout your life can have disappointing and costly repercussions. For example, if you forget to disinherit a former spouse, that person may still lawfully inherit a portion of your assets even if you remarry. Treating your estate plan as a work in progress can help you maintain its integrity so it can provide you and your loved ones with sustainable support and protection.