When is the Last Time You Updated Your Estate Plan?

Your estate plan is more than just some dusty financial document. It is your legacy. In a very real, tangible way, it is the life you will leave behind for your kids, grandkids, and other loved ones. It is a big part of how you will be remembered, and it is a pragmatic way of showing love and generosity to those you care about.

That is why making an estate plan is so important. Simply making an estate plan is just the first step, though. It is recommended that you review your estate plan regularly—annually, plus any time there is a significant change or event in your life or in the life of your family.

An estate plan is not meant to be static, in other words: It grows and evolves along with you, and should be revisited and revised as often as is needed. The question is, why exactly would you want to alter the estate plans that you have laid?

Reasons to Revisit Your Estate Plan

Actually, there are plenty of reasons why you might update your estate plan.

You have new family members. When a new child is born into your family—whether your own child or a grandchild—you will likely wish to revise your will and any established trusts to ensure that this new family member receives part of the inheritance.

You experience the loss of a loved one. Should you sustain the loss of a family member, it may require you to update your estate—especially if that family member is listed as either a beneficiary, a trustee, an executor, or a power of attorney.

Someone in your family gets a divorce. A divorce within the family almost always has some impact on estate planning, so make sure you revise your documents to reflect current family realities.

Someone in the family gets married. Marriage has just as many estate planning ramifications as divorce! If you have a new spouse, or if one of your children or grandchildren has a new spouse, it is important to include that person on the estate plans.

Someone in your family is experiencing financial trouble. If someone in your family is facing deep debt or bankruptcy, you may think it prudent to provide that family member with additional assets—but doing so may simply mean that your hard-earned money goes straight to a creditor. It may actually make more sense to provide that person with less. This is a prickly issue to discuss with a financial professional.

You start a business. A business is an asset, and you will need to determine what you want to happen to that business once you pass away. Update your financial documents accordingly!

You purchase a new property. Like your business, your home is a significant asset, and you want to make sure all assets are encompassed in your estate plan.

You purchase new assets of any kind. For that matter, any new asset should be reflected in your estate plan.

But again: It is a good general policy to review your estate plan with frequency. To make an appointment with a member of Stonepath Wealth Management, simply contact us at your leisure.

Note: Cambridge does not offer tax or legal advice.

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