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How do I update my estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2023 | Estate Planning |

The estate planning process is highly customizable, which is one of its many benefits. You can place two Pennsylvania portfolios next to each other, and one might have several documents included that are not part of the other. For instance, your estate plan might have a living trust while another person’s might have a special needs trust or no trust at all.  

After executing an estate plan, it is best to conduct periodic reviews of it, in case you need to update or amend it in any way. For example, there might be a birth in your family, and you want to add the baby’s name as an heir to your estate. There are several common issues that may compel you to make additions or deletions to your existing estate plan.  

You will want to update your estate plan if an appointed person dies 

If you are the parent of young children, you may have designated guardians for them, in case you and your spouse should become incapacitated or die. In the unfortunate event that someone you have appointed as legal guardian for your children should die or become incapacitated, you can update your estate plan by removing the decedent’s name and appointing someone else.  

Changes in income, business, assets, etc. 

If you acquire new assets, it is a good idea to update your estate plan, especially if you wish those assets to be part of an inheritance. You might launch a business or sell a business that you already own. These transactions may have a significant impact on your estate. Making sure to reflect the changes in your plan helps prevent legal complications when the time comes to administer your estate.  

Are there rules about updating an estate plan? 

Your estate plan is a legal document. If you wish to update your plan, you must do so in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern such matters. For instance, you must be of sound mind to execute a plan and to make any changes to an existing plan. If someone believes you were not of sound of mind when you signed a will, for example, he or she might challenge it in court to determine validity.  

A general rule of thumb for keeping your estate plan updated is to conduct a review, at least every five years. You will also want to amend your plan before such time has passed, if a major life event occurs or issue arises that affects your existing portfolio.