Does your estate plan need an update?

Oct 14, 2022

If you are one of many Florida residents who understood the value of estate planning at an early age, you might already have your documents in place. As the years pass, however, any number of issues may arise that prompt you to remove a document, incorporate a new one or make changes to one or more documents that you have already signed. Failing to update your estate plan might result in some awkward situations or spark legal problems for your loved ones after you die.

There are many reasons that might compel you to change your estate plan. Changing your plan might mean making deletions or additions or adaptations. As long as you are of sound mind at the time, you can update your plan, except for documents such as an irrevocable trust, which cannot be changed once it is signed.

Birth, death, adoption, marriage or divorce might prompt an estate plan update

Marriages, births, deaths and adoptions are a natural part of life. If you live to be age 75 or more, your family might experience multiple births, marriages, divorces or other issues mentioned here. As someone who has executed an estate plan, you will want to keep in mind that any of these issues might be a reason to review and update your plan.

For instance, if your son or daughter gets married, you might want to add his or her spouse as a beneficiary to your estate plan. The same goes for any grandchildren who are born into your family. Then again, if there is a divorce in your family, you might want to remove a particular beneficiary’s name from your will.

Business issues can be relevant to your estate plan

After you have executed an estate plan, you might become a business owner or invest in stocks that give you shares of ownership in a business. This could cause a dramatic change in your finances, which you may want to reflect on your estate plan.

If you own a business, you might decide to incorporate a business succession plan as part of your estate plan, as well. Who will own your business? Who will manage daily operations? Will it be sold after you die? Do you insist that it stay in the family? Remembering to update your estate plan with instructions for your new business can save your loved ones a lot of stress and confusion down the line.

Avoid mistakes that create awkward situations

Like many estate owners, you may have listed your spouse as a beneficiary to your estate. If your divorce, and especially if you remarry, forgetting to update your last will and testament can cause legal complications during the probate process. You wouldn’t want your new spouse to be left wondering why your ex is listed as a beneficiary, but he or she isn’t.

The way to avoid such problems is to schedule a periodic review of your existing estate plan. Asking someone who is well-versed in Florida estate law to assist you is helpful. Upon each review, you can determine if your plan is updated, as is, or if any changes need to be made.

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