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Things to Consider When Updating Your Estate Plan

By Origin


May 7, 2024

Many people make the mistake of thinking Estate Planning is a one-off event when the opposite is true. Monitoring your Estate Plan on an ongoing basis is essential.

If you’ve experienced a significant life event or career change since you first created your Estate Plan, or if it’s just been a while since you last looked at your documents, your Estate Plan may be outdated.

When to Update an Estate Plan?

You should update your Estate Plan once every 3-5 years or as your life circumstances change. Here is a list of specific life events that prompt people to create, update or improve their Estate Plans.

  • Marriage or divorce

  • The birth or adoption of a child

  • Your child or grandchild turns 18

  • One of your beneficiaries can no longer handle money effectively<

  • You receive a financial windfall such as an inheritance

  • Retirement

  • Change in employment status due to a new job or starting or closing a business

  • Need to name a new guardian for your minor children

  • You purchased a home

  • You change your mind about how you want your estate distributed

  • Need to update your executor or trustee

  • Change in federal or state tax laws

  • Illness or disability of your spouse, child, or yourself

  • You have a pet that needs to be cared for

  • Change in your financial goals

Change occurs in our lives constantly, and your Estate Plan must also change with it.

Risks of Not Updating an Estate Plan

If you don’t keep your Estate Plan documents current, you risk your wealth falling into the wrong hands. Not having an up-to-date Estate Plan may increase the likelihood of someone contesting your will and delaying your estate settlement process, or worse, not knowing the documents exist.

An all too common Estate Planning scenario is when someone doesn’t update their will after having children or a divorce. Do you want all of your assets to go to your ex-spouse when you pass away? Or your ex-spouse having power of attorney? If not, it may be time to revisit your Estate Plan.

How to Update an Estate Plan?

Most people review their Estate Plans periodically to ensure everything is still up to date. You can check your Estate Plan as often as works for your needs — the timing doesn’t matter as much as getting it done. When you’re ready to update your Estate Plan, take some time to collect your thoughts and determine the updates you want to make.

Many people review their Estate Plans when they review their overall financial plan (typically once a year with their financial advisor). Between annual meetings, check on your plan at least one additional time. You never want to leave your Estate Plan out of date for too long.

Keep in mind that your updated estate documents will automatically revoke your prior planning documents. Sometimes it’s easier just to start over from scratch rather than create “amendments” that refer to your prior, outdated documents.

If You Do Update Your Plan, Remember to Communicate‍

This may see, obvious, but if you do update your documents, remember to communicate these changes to anyone who may play a role in your Estate Plan. That includes people who are designated to make key medical decisions, have power of attorney, or even be beneficiaries in your Will. The more you communicate, the greater your wishes will be known.

Don’t Put Off Updating Your Estate Plan Until It’s Too Late

We understand that life gets busy, and it’s easy to put updating your Estate Plan on the back-burner. Keeping your will, power of attorney, and medical directive forms up-to-date is the only way to ensure your wishes are honored when you are no longer there to communicate them yourself.

If the process of updating your Estate Plan seems overwhelming, try starting with a tiny step in the right direction. Maybe today, that means locating your documents or researching estate attorneys in your area or online Estate Planning services. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, with online serviced like Origin, you can create an Estate Plan in as little as 20 minutes, and have a new Estate Plan done in the time it takes to watch a TV show.

Create or Update Your Estate Plan Online, Today

Does your Estate Plan no longer reflect your current wishes for your legacy? Check out what options are available to you within your Origin membership. Bring your Estate Plan up to date with a safe, secure, and legally valid Estate Plan through Origin.