Losing a loved one is a difficult time for the family and friends grieving while also tasked with carrying out the deceased’s final wishes. This emotional, potential tense time can be fraught with challenges, particularly if an out of date estate plan adds only more confusion.
Taking the time to create a comprehensive estate plan is an important step in planning for the long-term future of your final wishes. Even once a person or couple completes an initial estate plan, the work doesn’t end there. In order to provide the most relevant, helpful information for those executing your estate, continue updating your plans throughout your life.
When should you update an estate plan?
After creating an initial estate plan, financial and legal advisors recommend reassessing these documents approximately every five years. Even if the plan is still relevant, a timely and conscious review of an estate plan is a productive aspect of preparing for the future.
When to create that first estate plan is a personal choice, though many people have the misconception that they can wait until after major life changes to create a will for the first time. On the contrary, even single people in their 20s can benefit from proactive estate planning even before some of those bigger milestones occur. Once you’ve created a first draft of an estate plan, some instances to update it may include:
- Getting married
- Becoming a parent
- Purchasing a home or other property
- Starting a business
- Gaining an inheritance
- Moving states
- Getting divorced
- Children getting married
- Losing a loved one
- Substantial change in personal wealth
Some of the times to update an estate plan are happy occasions while others may be negative life changes. No matter the occurrence, consider your future plans as major milestones come to pass.
Timeliness prevents future disputes
One of the most important reasons to update an estate plan is the impact an out of date plan can have on beneficiaries after a loved one’s incapacitation or death. What are your medical preferences? Who takes care of the finances? How is inheritance divided? What are your funeral wishes?
The grieving process is difficult enough to traverse after a loved one’s departure even without added complications of infighting between beneficiaries. Prudent estate planning can help prevent future disputes by maintaining all estate matters throughout a person’s lifetime. Give your loved ones the best chance to execute your final wishes without the added difficulties of an irrelevant or disputed estate.