You probably have dozens of tasks at work or around the house that you’ve been meaning to do. Perhaps you keep putting off cleaning out the garage, organizing your files or making that appointment with the dentist. If you have already created an estate plan, you can be very proud of yourself. Estate planning is a job many people put off until it is too late. However, it might be time for you to add one more task to the top of your to-do list.
If it has been more than a few years since you reviewed your estate plan, it might be time to dust it off and read it carefully to ensure it still expresses your wishes. If you can’t find your documents, that’s a good sign that it’s been too long since you have updated your estate plan.
Estate plans don’t always survive the test of time
Life goes on, and circumstances often change quickly. You can probably look back over the past years and agree that you are not the same in many respects. The unfortunate fact is that those in New York who fail to review their estate plans regularly and revise them after important life events often leave their loved ones with confusing and frustrating plans that can lead to lifelong disputes among family members. It is a smart idea to review your estate plan if any of the following or others have occurred:
- You got married, divorced or remarried.
- You welcomed someone new to the family, such as a child, grandchild or in-law.
- Someone you named as an heir has died or fallen away from your affections.
- Your assets have changed, such as buying or selling property or a business.
- You have changed your mind about how to distribute your assets, such as donating to a charitable cause.
- Someone you named as your executor, agent or trustee is no longer trustworthy or available for the job.
- You have moved out of the state where you originally executed your estate plan.
If any of these circumstances or others affect your will, trust or powers of attorney, they may also affect your retirement plans or beneficiary designations on insurance policies, annuities and other financial accounts. Since it is time to review your estate plan, you may wish to discuss your revisions with a skilled attorney who can help you choose the most appropriate steps to meet your goals.