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When is it time to update your estate plan?

Some past posts of ours have discussed the importance of revising estate plans after a divorce or a new marriage. It makes sense to change the beneficiaries of a will, especially if a primary beneficiary was an ex-spouse. It also helps newly married parents plan for how to support blended families after they are gone.

However, there are many more reasons to review and update an estate plan than that.

When life changes, so should your estate plan

When people in Pennsylvania finally sit down and establish their will, it can take a load off their shoulders. However, estate planning does not end there. 

Wills, trusts and other estate planning tools are living documents. That means that the documents can be edited continuously. And families should review their estate plan every time they experience significant changes in their lives.

Times it is critical to update an estate plan

Life can change in many unexpected ways. And while it is not possible to plan for those changes, it is possible to plan for the future after these changes occur.

Some of the reasons review an estate plan include:

  • A change in the family: Divorce is not the only family change that impacts an estate plan. Individuals should also update their estate plan if there is a new addition to the family, such as a birth, adoption or marriage. A loss or death in the family is also a change that might require a revised estate plan.
  • A change in finances: It is beneficial to review an estate plan if someone experiences either a significant financial gain or loss. These changes can range from losing a job to acquiring new real estate.
  • A personal change: Even a change of emotion is a reason to update an estate plan. For example, parents can change the guardianship of their young children if they determine that one person might be a better caregiver than the current guardian.

Some of the reasons to adjust an estate plan are outside the creator's control. Pennsylvania estate planning laws change often, and it is critical to revise any estate plan to make sure complies with state laws.

A specific reason is not always necessary for a change

The reasons to change an estate plan are countless, but it is important to note that estate planning is an intensely personal matter. And the creator of an estate plan can update it whenever they wish.

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