Do you have an estate plan, and if you do, how long as it been since you've looked at it? If your plans are more than a few years old or your life has changed significantly since you drafted it, it may be time to revisit them. Estate plans are not set in stone, meaning that you have the ability to go back and adjust things as needed.
It is impossible to predict what will happen in the future. Since you made your plan, you may have divorced, married, had children or gone through other things that will make parts your existing plans obsolete. Failure to adjust your plans to reflect these things can lead to significant complications in the future for your beneficiaries and heirs. Estate plans should reflect your goals and needs for the future, which are likely not the same as they were several years ago.
When are changes necessary?
There are certain life changes that make it significantly more likely that changes to an estate plan are necessary as well. If any of the following apply to you, it may be helpful to take the time to review all of your documents:
- A beneficiary passed away or there are new beneficiaries to include after a divorce and remarriage
- The birth of children or a new marriage that involves stepchildren
- New tax laws apply, making it necessary to revisit certain aspects of a plan
- A family member has a special need or disability
- New medical needs and health care concerns for yourself or family members
- A move across state lines
These are just a few examples of why you may want to look at your documents and add or adjust things. It is a mistake to create an estate plan and then never look at it again. This will likely lead to disputes and complications for beneficiaries and the individuals who have to settle your estate in the future.
How can you know what you need?
Estate planning is a complex process, and it involves much more than just deciding who gets what. Due to the sensitive nature of it, you will find significant benefit in working with an experienced Texas attorney to ensure you have the right plans in place and make any adjustments that will better protect your interests and those of your loved ones. Planning for the future can seem like an overwhelming task, but it is not something you have to do alone.