Your estate plan isn’t something that you can create and then just forget about. You should review it periodically to ensure that it adequately reflects your wishes. On top of a regularly scheduled review, you also have to check it when there are significant changes in your circumstances.
Understanding when to review your plan can help you to ensure that it is always up to date. When you review it, you might have to change some aspects of it. This will likely trigger a new discussion with loved ones about the updates.
When should you review your estate plan?
Changes in your family dynamics should trigger an estate plan review. This includes getting married or divorcing, having children or grandchildren, and having minor dependents becoming adults. If your spouse becomes ill or has a significant change in a disability, you need to double check the plan.
Changes in assets will also require you to check the contents of the estate plan. Purchasing new assets or selling assets requires you to review the assets listed in the estate plan. Investment accounts with a large change in value require a check into their distribution.
If either spouse receives a gift or an inheritance, it needs to be covered in the estate plan. When any laws pertaining to estate planning change, you need to review your plan to determine if there are any modificaions required.
When should you talk to your family members?
It is a good idea to tell your loved ones about any significant changes to your estate plan. This can help to quell disagreements after you pass away because they will already know what to expect. Make sure that you speak about this in a matter-of-fact manner and with compassion.
There might be questions about the changes that you made. Address them however you feel most comfortable. Sometimes, family members will accept changes more easily when they know why they were made.
If there is anyone who is upset about the changes, try to address their concerns directly. It is much easier for you to discuss the changes with them now rather than leave the disgruntled person for your other beneficiaries to deal with.
Staying abreast of the changes that you need to make can be complicated. Having someone on your side to help you is beneficial in these cases.