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When should I update my estate plan?

Even a good estate plan may need to be updated from time to time. Knowing when to revisit your will and other documents is crucial; failure to do so could result in your final wishes being ignored, as well as increased strife between your family members. To prevent this from occurring, Forbes offers the following guide to when an estate plan should be updated.  

When You Become a Grandparent

There aren’t many experiences than rival becoming a grandparent. In terms of estate planning, it’s recommended that you revisit documents to ensure the little one is included. Along with wills and trusts, also take some time to go over beneficiary designations. These designate who receives the proceeds of things like retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Additionally, your estate plan should be revisited for each subsequent grandchild.

Terminal Illness

In terms of things like advanced directives or medical powers of attorney, the diagnosis of a terminal or chronic illness calls for a thorough review of an estate plan. These documents dictate what type of end-of-life medical care you prefer, as well as who’s responsible for making decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. When plans are made in good health your outlook could drastically change at the onset of serious illness. When revising these documents in light of a new diagnosis, be sure to involve professional legal assistance.

Changes in Relationship Status

A new marriage or divorce can have a huge impact on your will. Accordingly, failing to update your estate plan as result can lead to significant division within your family. If your will is challenged it will end up in probate, where court officials will decide to carry out the document as written or determine that it's not legally valid. In this case, updating it will ensure your wishes are honored and that your assets go to the intended family members.

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