There are many mistakes people make in regard to their estate plans. Firstly, many forget to set aside time to write one at all. And another is that even if a plan has been made, the creator may not update it as life circumstances change, meaning the plan is not as effective as it could be. It is important that an estate plan reflects current relationships, inheritance, assets, and family dynamics. There are specific moments in time when an estate plan should be revisited. But otherwise, generally, a plan usually needs updating every few years or so. Once your estate plan is written, don’t forget to place it somewhere safe where you will remember its location, make copies for those you want to share it with and edit it as soon as possible when something changes.
You moved to another state.
As an estate lawyer explains, estate plan laws are not nationwide, meaning that each state has specific laws that may have certain nuances. Some differences may not matter much, but others could cause problems for the current version of your estate plan. This is why it is recommended that whenever you move to another state, you have your lawyer help you edit it to reflect state law. If you don’t, you could risk your plan having issues later on and causing undue stress to beneficiaries.
Your close family or friends have changed.
Sometimes the people we hold most dear are those who end up not having a role in our lives anymore, whether it be due to divorce, a new marriage, relationship fallout, or something else. Whatever the case may be, unless you still want that person to potentially get an inheritance from you in the future, you have to properly remove them as beneficiaries promptly. For example, if you are divorced and married again, you probably do not want your first wife to still be listed as your primary beneficiary.
Your liabilities or assets change.
A big change in your estate value since the plan was originally drafted is a reason to review it, whether it has decreased or increased. Consider reading over how you have chosen to divide the property and assess if that is still what you want in light of your liability or asset change. Perhaps you have sold real estate or received an inheritance from someone else, it’s imperative to update your plan as its contents and what you own changes throughout life.
Your chosen trustees or executors are not appropriate.
The trustees and executors of your estate plan are people who will oversee or handle your affairs after you have moved on. These individuals should be people who have your best interest in mind and are not concerned with what they will get out of it for themselves. Who you choose doesn’t have to be estate plan savvy per say, but they should be willing to ask for help from a legal team if needed, like W.B. Moore Law.