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5 Signs You Need to Update Your Estate Plan

estate plan

6 out of 10 Americans don’t have a will or estate planning documents. Those that do are older people who see the wisdom of planning for their property and family once they pass on.

But is the initial draft still in effect 15 years later? Wills are not documents that you create once and never think about again.

Read on to learn 5 signs that it’s time to look at your estate plan again. 

1. You Moved to a New State

Estate planning laws may vary from state to state. Some of the differences are minor, but they might void the validity of your will.

For example, some states require more witnesses than others for a will to be valid. The last thing you want is to find out when it’s too late, that your will is void.

If you move, you should consult with an estate planning company to ensure your will is in effect.

2. Your Family Changes

There are many ways your family can change over the years. You could have another child or grandchild. Or your children could marry which means you have new in-laws.

Similarly, if someone in your will leaves the family through divorce or death, you should update your will to reflect these changes.

Or maybe you’ve divorced or remarried since your initial estate planning. 

3. Changes in Your Financial Goals

If you made your will a number of years ago, you may now feel differently than you did then.

You might want to change the charities outlined in your will. Or you may choose to donate less or more of your estate to charities than you initially planned.

You or your spouse could have a change in your financial goals. In that case, your estate planning should reflect that. 

4. Change to Your Assets or Liabilities

Anytime the value of your estate changes significantly, you should review your will.

This is regardless of whether the value of your estate goes up or down. Your new circumstances may prompt you to change how your property is divided.

If you buy or sell a large asset such as real estate or a business, that can affect your estate. A reassessment of your will is necessary. 

Likewise, if you or your spouse receives a large inheritance, you should account for that in your will. 

You may choose to use a last will and testament checklist to ensure you have all your assets covered. 

5. Changes to the Law

You may have heard about Trump’s tax reform plan that will increase the estate plan exemption

Legal changes in your state could affect your estate planning. But, you may not know about how these changes affect you. In fact, you might not even know that legal changes are in effect.

Changes to the law can happen at any time. That’s why it’s best to deal with a professional estate planning attorney.

Your attorney should have a method for letting clients know about legal updates that affect them.

Bottom Line on Your Estate Plan

There you have it. 5 signs that it’s time to update your estate plan with a professional estate planning attorney.

No kids? Find out why you still need an estate plan

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