It's important to visit your physician when you notice some change in your health. A medical checkup offers you a chance to discuss issues with your doctor, ask questions, and get professional input on your overall health. Like your annual checkup with your doctor, a regular review of your estate plan with your attorney will help you minimize the risk of future unexpected hardships that might arise from incomplete or outdated documents.
Creating an estate plan is the first step in protecting your family and assets. However, circumstances often change, and relationships alter over time, determining if your will still accurately reflects your wishes and desires. Once you've created an estate plan, you cannot just shove it in your safe and forget about it. As a rule of thumb, you should review your estate plan every three to five years.
When should you consider a legal checkup or update to your estate plan?
You should consider a legal checkup or update your plan if the following events occur:
- The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild
- A child or grandchild becomes an adult
- A child or grandchild needs educational funding
- Death or change in circumstances of the guardian named in your will for minor children
- Changes in your number of dependents, such as the addition of an adult for whom you will be responsible
- Change in your or your spouse's financial or other goals
- Marriage or divorce
- Illness, disability, or death of your spouse
- Change in your life or long-term care insurance coverage
- Purchasing a home or other significant asset
- Borrowing a large amount of money or taking on liability for any other reason
- Significant increases or decreases in the value of assets, such as investments
- If you or your spouse receives a large inheritance or gift
- Changes in federal or state laws covering taxes and investments
- If any family member passes away, becomes ill, or becomes disabled
- Death or change in circumstance of your executor or trustee
- Career changes, such as a new job, promotion, or if you start or close a business
If you answered yes to any of the above, it's time for a checkup.
Should you get a new will or a codicil to your will?
Whether you require a new will or a codicil depends on how significant a change you wish to make.
There are different ways to make a change depending on what changes you need to make. If you're making a small change, like switching executors, you should be able to do so using a document called a codicil.
However, if you require a major change, you may need to prepare a new will to prevent any confusion, ensure your wishes are accurately carried out, and that the route you're choosing is the best way forward.
We can help you review and update a will if necessary. We can assist you by walking you through your goals in light of your new situation and analyze whether your documents achieve those goals. Call us today.