Creating a will and an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take toward protecting your property and making your wishes for your legacy clear to your beneficiaries. However, it is important to revisit these documents from time to time to ensure that changes in your life or your property do not create complications.
It is easy to forget to review these documents or get comfortable with the peace of mind their protections provide. As your own life circumstances change over time, updating your will and estate plan keeps your wishes clear and helps avoid conflicts between your beneficiaries and loved ones when the time comes.
Significant life events may impact your wishes
As you experience significant moments in your life, you may see your family or estate undergo changes. It is wise to look over your will and estate plan any time your family grows and any time that you lose a beneficiary to death, divorce or changing relationship. This may include:
- Marriage, divorce and remarriage
- Birth, adoption and death of a child
- Marriage, divorce and remarriage of a beneficiary
- Changes in key relationships that may impact your wishes for your property
By reviewing your documents after each of these major events, you ensure that the terms of your will and estate plan reflect your current relationships. This is particularly important when you marry or go through a divorce, because spouses often have significant legal rights to marital property, and may object to the terms of your will if you do not update it as your marital status changes.
Significant shifts in your property require attention
You should also review these documents if your estate grows or shrinks significantly. Depending on your wishes for your property, you may want to update the terms of your will to include new assets or redistribute assets if you lose significant value.
You may now be wondering, "What about individuals who do not experience any major life changes over a period of years?" Even those who do not experience significant life and property changes should still review their documents every four or five years, to help identify any changes in estate planning law in California that may affect your estate plan.
Your will and estate plan can offer excellent protection and peace of mind, provided that you build them carefully and maintain them well. Make sure to use the legal resources and guidance that you need to make your wishes for your property known to the ones you love, so that you can continue to focus the rest of your time on the things that matter most.