Your life is not static or unchanging—and your estate plan shouldn’t be, either. An estate plan needs to be regularly reviewed and, if necessary, revised. In fact, most of life’s major changes are cause for an estate plan review.
Consider all of the following events—all of them life-changing, and potentially estate-changing, as well. As these events unfold, make sure you get in touch with your financial advisor to discuss the need for potential estate plan revisions.
Life Changes That Require Estate Plan Review
Marriage. Does your spouse qualify as the sole heir of your estate? Not necessarily! It depends on the state you live in at the time of your death. Generally speaking, the beneficiary of your estate is going to be up in the air without a good estate plan in place, so when you get married, make sure you schedule a meeting with your financial planner.
Divorce. When you end your marriage with someone, you may also want to disinherit that spouse; in some states, this process is more or less automatic, but that’s not something you want to leave to chance.
Remarriage. A marriage license does not typically mean that the new spouse automatically becomes your sole beneficiary. You’ll want to include him or her in your estate plan, by name.
The birth of a child. The first order of business here, of course, is to appoint guardianship of your new bundle of joy, should something happen to you and your partner/spouse that leaves the little one in need of care. You may also want to set up educational trusts or other means of transferring assets to your offspring.
The death of a loved one. What happens when your estate plan leaves your assets with a loved one, but then that loved one suddenly passes away? Make sure you update your estate plan to provide some clear direction.
Illness. If your beneficiary becomes ill, receiving your assets could actually do more harm than good, because it could prevent your beneficiary from receiving government aid or other healthcare perks. Make sure you revise your estate plan to reflect this.
A major asset increase. A big raise, the purchase of a lavish new home, a significant inheritance—anything that substantially increases the value of your estate requires a new approach to tax planning.
A move. Different states all have different laws, so any time you move it is advised that you review your estate plan with a financial advisor.
A change in life may require a change in your estate plan—as simple as that. To speak with a financial advisor, contact Stonepath Wealth Management today and ask for an appointment.