You should ideally pull a copy of your estate plan out of the drawer annually. The New Year is an excellent occasion to do this, as it is an easy date to remember. Yet some life events are important enough to require a revision no matter the time of year.
Here are two of them:
1. You marry
Marrying means that many of the things you earn or buy from now on will become not yours but your and your spouse’s. It’s the same for them. When they buy something, you will automatically gain part ownership in most cases.
Reviewing your estate plan before you marry is particularly crucial if you have children with someone else. You may decide to earmark certain assets for their benefit when you die. Otherwise, your spouse might be entitled to them.
2. You divorce
You may need to remove assets from your estate plan, such as the family house, if your spouse took it in the divorce or if you decided to sell it and share out the money.
While removing assets might not seem like a priority, the more accurate your estate plan, the better. Otherwise, your estate executor and beneficiaries will have to sort out the confusion.
You might also need to update your designated beneficiaries. The distribution of any asset with a beneficiary designation will be decided by that, regardless of what your will might say. It’s easy to forget to change your beneficiaries– for example, removing your ex’s name- but often, these assets are worth a lot.
If considerable changes to your estate plan are needed due to marriage or divorce, get legal help to ensure you do it correctly and efficiently.