Change is one of the only constants in life, so the estate plan you drafted years ago does not necessarily reflect your best interests and goals for your family. However, it is unreasonable to update your estate plan after every life change—you would never have time for anything else. If you wonder if your estate needs an update, plan on consulting your Upland, California probate attorney whenever one of these five changes occur.
Family Structure or Makeup Changes
One of the main goals of an estate plan is to provide for the people you value most in life. Whether someone leaves your family or you bring more people into the fold, your estate should reflect that. If a beneficiary passes away, a divorce takes place, or a family member becomes estranged, take steps to remove them from your estate. If your family welcomes a new baby, you may want to include them in your documents or name a guardian for them in your will.
Your Retirement Accounts Are Outdated
Any accounts with designated beneficiaries must be up-to-date. Many people forget to update their designated beneficiaries after a divorce, death, or remarriage, making it difficult for loved ones to gain access to assets after an individual's death. Check your estate plan for necessary changes whenever you update your bank and retirement accounts.
Significant Change in Liabilities or Assets
Whenever you have a major increase in assets or you take on additional debt or liabilities, consult your estate planning attorney to ensure you have everything documented appropriately. Consider, too, any new digital assets and login information. Any assets that are not included in your estate plan are subject to probate and could lead to family disputes. Failing to disclose all current liabilities in your estate plan makes your executor's job significantly more difficult.
You Have Moved to a Different State
Inheritance and probate laws vary between states, so any interstate move necessitates a meeting with your estate planning attorney in Upland. For example, if your new home state requires beneficiaries to pay an estate tax, you may want to adjust your plan to ensure that the estate covers all necessary fees. Each state may also have different documentation laws and probate procedures, both of which may need to be addressed in your estate.
You Need a New Executor
Appointing an executor is an important part of estate planning. The person you named when drafting your documents may no longer be the right choice. Perhaps they have demonstrated poor judgment when it comes to financial matters, or maybe they have significant health concerns or family obligations that would leave them unable to handle an executor's duties. If you have any misgivings about your choice of executor, meet with your attorney immediately to change all necessary forms.
Make Sure Your Estate Plan Reflects Your Changing Life
Having your estate plan in order gives you peace of mind and limits the strain put on your family when you pass. Start, continue, or revise your estate plan now by contacting Family First Estate Planning Law Center at (714) 591-0640.