Estate planning is crucial to securing your legacy and ensuring your loved ones are cared for after you pass away. While many people assume estate planning is a one-time thing, it’s more complex. It should be approached as an ongoing process that needs periodic attention and updates. In this article, we’ll discuss why it is essential to maintain updated planning documents to safeguard your wishes and the well-being of your family.
6 Reasons to Update Your Estate Planning Documents
Estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives, should be revisited and revised periodically for several compelling reasons:
1. Changes in Marital Status
Significant life events like getting married or divorced necessitate updating your estate plan. Once married, your previous will may not include your spouse as a beneficiary, and in the case of divorce, you likely want to remove your former spouse as your agent for various purposes. (In addition to your will, you definitely need to check beneficiary designations on things like life insurance policies as well.)
2. Growing Your Family
Having a baby should be an automatic trigger for updating your estate plan. You’ll want to appoint a legal guardian for your child in the event both parents pass away before the child reaches adulthood. Additionally, it’s crucial to reconsider the terms of your will to ensure your children inherit from your estate fairly.
In some situations, you may decide to disinherit an adult child or other relatives who were previously named as beneficiaries. (This can be helpful in situations where someone is mishandling money or struggling with an addiction.) Estate planning documents can be revised, amended, or revoked as often as necessary, allowing you to change beneficiaries according to your changing personal circumstances.
4. Premature Death of Beneficiaries
Sometimes, beneficiaries or agents named in your estate planning documents pass away. While designating alternates when first drafting your plan is wise, periodic document reviews are essential to account for unforeseen situations.
5. Entrepreneurial Ventures
If you’ve started a business, this can have significant implications for your estate planning. Consider what happens to your business after your passing, even if it means providing instructions for winding down the business and distributing its assets.
6. Relocation to a Different State
Relocating to another state may require updates to your estate plan. Each state has unique laws regarding wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives — and Virginia is no exception. Documents prepared in compliance with one state’s laws may not work in another.
How Promise Law Can Assist You
At Promise Law, we understand the complexities of estate planning and the importance of regular updates. Contact us today at (757) 384-9819 to learn more about Virginia’s estate planning process. You can also enroll in one of our free educational workshops by clicking here to gain a deeper understanding of estate planning essentials. Once you attend a workshop (either online or in-person), you’ll be eligible to receive a complimentary Vision Meeting™ with an attorney or paralegal. (A $600 value.)