If you’re among those in Florida who understand the importance of protecting your assets and providing instructions to your loved ones and others regarding your end-of-life care or other legal issues, then good for you. Thinking ahead and taking steps to secure these matters may help ensure that your assets go to those you have specifically chosen to give them to, and that your financial and health care needs will be met if you are unable to speak for yourself. Executing an estate plan is a wise decision.
Drafting your initial plan is merely the first step toward accomplishing your goals, however. It’s equally important to periodically review your plan and to be aware of numerous issues that might prompt you to make additions, deletions or revisions. Failing to update your estate plan can cause hefty legal problems for certain people after you die. For instance, if you divorce your spouse and remarry but fail to update your plan, the spouse at the time of your death might be accidentally left out of your will.
Keep these life changes in mind
As long as you’re of sound mind, you may revise your estate planning documents, unless, of course, the document in question is an irrevocable trust. The following list includes nine life events that may create a reason for you to update your existing estate plan:
- Birth in the family
- Minor child reaches adult legal age
- New assets acquired
- Loss of ownership of assets
- Loved one develops special needs
- Launching a business
As mentioned earlier, if you divorce and remarry, you may undoubtedly want to update your estate plan to remove your ex as a beneficiary and designate your spouse as one. A validly signed last will and testament is legally enforceable, which means that if you forget to update your will after remarrying, then the initial instructions you signed still stand.
Make it a regular habit to review your plan
While you’re busy living life or running a business, raising a family, etc., you might overlook a need to revise your estate plan. This is why it’s helpful to ask someone who is well-versed in matters of estate administration and probate laws to look over your plan at regular intervals. You have much less chance of neglecting a needed update if you make it a habit to periodically review the plan.
It’s also important to discuss your plans with loved ones, especially those to whom certain aspects of it are relevant. For instance, if a minor child reaches adult legal age, you might want to ask him or her to be your executor, or you may want to designate a financial or healthcare power of attorney to this particular son or daughter. It’s always best to discuss the issue with the person you have in mind before making any changes to your estate plan.