An estate plan is a vehicle that steers your assets safely through life while you are living and delivers those assets securely into the hands of your loved ones when you die. Like all vehicles, regular maintenance is needed to ensure an estate plan can safely carry out its journey. Just as your oil needs to be changed and your tires rotated, your estate planning documents need to be periodically reviewed and revised to ensure they remain current. Further, anytime a major life event occurs your plan needs a major update in the same way that anytime anything major goes off with your car, a major assessment is required.
Luckily, unlike cars, estate plans don’t break down. The need for maintenance doesn’t come because the vehicle wears out; rather, it comes because your life grows, changes, and adapts. This means that instead of being a headache, maintenance is often a welcome acknowledgment of an expanding family or increasing assets.
Five Times Your Estate Plan Needs Servicing
1. You Marry
Every adult should have an estate plan and every married or partnered adult should definitely have an estate plan. When you invite a person to share in your life, you want to ensure this is reflected in your financial planning. Further, you and your spouse likely want to update medical and financial powers of attorney so that you truly can care for one another in both sickness and health.
2. A Child or Grandchild Arrives
A new child or grandchild is no different than a spouse in that they likewise must be accounted for in your estate. When a little one arrives, you want to waste no time ensuring they are reflected in your Will, trust, and any other relevant documents.
3. You Divorce
Ending a marriage is never easy. In such stressful times, it is understandable that estate planning may not be the first thing on your mind, and yet it is a crucial task. Should you overlook needed amendments as you dissolve your marriage, you might inadvertently leave assets to your ex-spouse or their family—a true nightmare if there ever were one.
4. You Come into Wealth
As you age, your assets often grow. Progress is usually predictable but sometimes a windfall arrives. Whether it be due to a smart investment, raise in salary, inheritance, or something else. Any time you come into wealth, you need to update your estate plan. Greater assets may prompt you to rethink beneficiary designations, revise your tax planning, retool your retirement timeline, or institute any other number of changes.
5. You Move, Laws Change, a Loved One Dies, etc.
There is no end to the list of times your estate plan may need maintenance. Changing legislation, the loss of a beneficiary, a new address, and many other major life events elicit action. While many times you will know when you need to reach out to your attorney, other times may catch you off guard. For this very reason, at the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia, we offer an Estate Maintenance Program that serves to ensure your estate plan never falls out of date.
Contact the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia