So you have an estate plan in place? Congratulations! You are off to a great start. On the other hand, if you do not have an estate plan yet, you need to consider creating one as soon as possible. That said, an estate plan, once created, is not something you need to lock up in some safe and forget about it.
An estate plan is a live document that should be reviewed and updated as the need arises. Here are major life changes that should prompt you to review and update your estate plan.
Marriage and divorce
Both marriage and divorce come with considerable legal changes and implications. As such, you should review the estate plan to ensure that it still reflects your wishes soon after either one of these life events occurs.
The birth of a child or death of a beneficiary
When you become a parent, you automatically acquire a very valid reason to create a will. If you do not leave a will behind when you die, then New York intestacy laws will decide the fate of your estate. A properly written will can clear up any confusion that may arise and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
On the other hand, if a beneficiary dies, you must revisit the entire estate plan. It is likely that you gave the deceased beneficiary some role in the estate plan, such as a power of attorney. You must review your plan to reassign this role. You may also need to remove the deceased beneficiary from your insurance policies and retirement plans.
Conventional wisdom dictates that you should review your estate plan every couple of years or when you experience a major life event. When life changes, so should your estate plan. An up-to-date estate plan will give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones and assets are safeguarded.