Your estate plan can help you prepare for the future. When consistently updated, you can prevent inheritance disputes and give your surviving family members what they need to close your estate.
A CNBC report suggests that a staggering 50% of Americans do not have any kind of estate plan. Having a strategy in place is only half of the task. Ensuring it remains aligned with your goals is the other half. Knowing when to make changes to your plan can help you avoid costly pitfalls.
Put it in writing
When significant changes happen in your life, it might seem reasonable to assume that everyone knows about them. However, overlooking a formal update to your estate plan will have serious repercussions that could jeopardize your assets. For example, if you remarry after a divorce, you might assume that your new spouse will automatically benefit from any assets you own if you pass away. However, not updating your legal documents could mean your ex will still rightfully benefit from your estate.
Reasons to update your estate documents may include a move across state lines, the death of a spouse, drastic changes to the value of your assets, the births of children or grandchildren, and divorce among others.
Share when appropriate
Once you have finalized everything in writing, you might want to share these changes with the people affected by them. For example, you could update your executor and any beneficiaries whose inheritance may also feel the impact of modifications to your plan.
Modifying your strategy can have lasting effects on the closure of your estate. Working with a professional to verify the accuracy of your work can improve your confidence and help fine-tune your plan so it will continue to benefit you and those you love for many years to come.