There are many things people don’t know about proper estate planning. Many people think that estate plans are only for rich people or the elderly. That’s the first mistake — in fact, estate plans are for everyone. Anyone who has property and loved ones should think about how to handle their estate well before old age or becoming incapacitated. The second mistake is not updating it regularly if you have one. Life is all about change and as life goes on, everyone should be revisiting their estate plan to account for those changes.
How Often Should I Be Updating My Will or Estate Plan?
You should update your estate plan every 3-5 years on average. If, however, you experience significant life-changing events such as:
- Marriage: If you marry someone, this is invariably going to affect your estate plan. A marriage is one of the most important life events, and you want to make sure your spouse is properly accounted for according to your wishes.
- Divorce: Like marriage, this is one of the most significant life events, albeit a more unpleasant one. You want to make sure you adjust your plan so that your ex does not end up receiving more than you intended
- Bearing children: If you have more children or even if you end up welcoming stepchildren into your life, you you may want to set up trusts or other arrangements to make sure they are provided for.
- Dealing with family deaths: If a family member dies before your estate plan would kick in, then you should revisit your plan and remove the deceased person.
- Acquiring significant property: If you buy a house, inherit property, or encounter some kind of windfall, then you would want to add this to your plan, deciding who it would go to.
- Starting or dissolving a business: Your estate plan should specify what happens to the business if you are unable to make business decisions, are incapacitated, or die. This can avoid a lot of chaos down the line.
- Moving between states: Anytime you move, chances are high that your assets and financial arrangements may change or shift. In addition different treatment of assets in different states can complicate matters. It is best to speak with an attorney if you move to a different state or acquire property in other states.
These are just some of the most common reasons to more frequently revisit your estate plan. If you maintain regular communication with your estate planning attorney, he will alert you when you should sit down and look at it again.
Why Should I Update an Estate Plan So Much?
If you don’t update your estate plan regularly, then you may leave out loved ones from your estate. Imagine if you remarry or decide you want to provide for your children differently. Or imagine if something happens to one of your children, say an accident, that would require more to provide for their special needs. If you don’t update your estate plan to provide for your loved ones properly, it could mean they don’t get the help they could have truly benefited from.
Estate Planning Attorneys Craft and Polish Your Unique Plan
An experienced estate planning attorney should ideally serve as your trusted adviser throughout your lifetime. From the very beginning, you need a great attorney to help your craft your estate plan in the first place. Remember, however, that this newborn plan is a snapshot of that moment in your life. As you go on through life, you should be updating your plan with your attorney regularly and for sure every time a major life event happens. Each revision will be a snapshot of that moment, but one that is as up to date as possible. This is what you want, so that when the time comes, your plan represents your wishes as close in time to the present as possible. Having the same attorney means he knows your plan, your wishes, and your life story well. It’s like having a friend, confidante, and adviser who is taking care of your estate.
BRMM’s estate planning attorneys in Troy, Michigan treat their clients like family. They understand the importance of planning for the future, and they take the trust clients place in them seriously. Each client’s life is unique, and so is their plan. Contact BRMM today for a free, confidential consultation at (248) 641-7070 or fill out our online form.