Every life contains various milestones that affect the course of our futures. Getting married, the birth of our children, the death of loved ones — events like these make up our strongest memories and help define us as individuals.
They can also make your estate plan out of date. For example, when you get married, you likely would want your spouse to be your sole or primary heir if you should predecease them. But a will and trust drawn up before meeting your new spouse will name other people as your heirs and beneficiaries. Until you update your plan, your spouse could be left without any assets to take care of themselves and any children you have together.
Reasons to double-check your estate plan
Thus, an upcoming or recent marriage is an excellent time to review your estate plan and make any necessary changes. Here is a sampling of other life events that should trigger a review:
- Birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild
- 18th birthday of a child or grandchild
- Death of spouse or other heir/beneficiary
- Purchase of a home or other large asset
- Receipt of a large inheritance or gift
- Death or change in circumstances to the executor
Even if you have not experienced any of these things recently, if you have not looked at your estate plan lately, you might be due. Experts recommend that you look over your plan every three to five years. You might not need to make any changes. But if you find something out of date, you can make updates that reflect your current wishes.