It’s important to clearly communicate your wishes in case of the unexpected. However, not all Americans get their affairs in order or, once they do, fail to recognize that they should keep it up to date as time goes by.
A mere 32% of Americans report having one or more completed estate planning documents, like a will. While the reasons for a lack of planning vary, enacting an estate plan is only part of the process. You might have many times ahead that cause you to change your mind about how you want your care handled or what kind of legacy you leave, and to whom.
Life changes. So do plans.
Life changes in the blink of an eye. When it does, you might be wise to review your documented wishes, since many events could alter your preferred course of action.
You would be wise to review your stated wishes after significant events in your life. For example, consider how your intentions might change if you:
- Get married
- Have or adopt children
- Purchase a home
- Receive an inheritance
- Launch a business
At the same time, life often combats positive situations with challenges as well. Revisions to your estate plan could come after:
- Job loss
- Increased financial liability
- Death of a named beneficiary
Changes in state and federal tax laws can also significantly affect how you protect your loved ones. As such, leaving the kind of legacy you envisioned may require updating your estate plan.
Don’t leave changes to chance
Much of life is unexpected. Yet, regular reviews of your estate plan can minimize questions and points of contention for your loved ones, in the event of your passing.
Whether your estate plan was created by a law firm or through the use of a do-it-yourself online platform, you would be wise to have an attorney personalize your plans. Thorough knowledge of legislative changes, in addition to a reconsideration of your assets, beneficiaries and concerns, can both protect your interests and prepare you to influence others’ lives long after you’re gone.