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  • Writer's pictureNorthland Elder Law

When & Why You Should Consider Updating Your Estate Plan

when and why you should update your estate plan

Estate planning is beneficial for more than just the wealthy or elderly; it’s important for anyone who wishes to pass on their assets to loved ones. Many people think estate plans are only necessary for those with substantial assets, but in reality, almost everyone can benefit from having one. Your estate includes everything you own—your home, car, investments, life insurance, personal belongings, and even your checking and savings accounts.

However, an estate plan is not a one-time task. It requires periodic reviews and updates to stay relevant and effective. In this article, we will explore when and why reviewing and updating your estate plan is necessary and how the Estate Planning Attorneys at Northland Elder Law can assist Missouri residents in keeping their plans current.

Why Update Your Estate Plan?

An estate plan must reflect your current life circumstances, financial situation, and legal landscape to be effective. Over time, various factors  will likely necessitate an update to at least some aspect of your estate plan:

Major Life Events

  • Marriage or Divorce: Getting married or divorced can drastically alter your financial situation and the list of beneficiaries. An updated estate plan ensures your current spouse is adequately provided for or removes an ex-spouse from your list of beneficiaries.

  • Birth or Adoption of a Child: Welcoming a new child or grandchild into your family is a joyous occasion that may require updating your will and trust documents to include provisions for their future.

  • Death of a Beneficiary or Executor: If a named beneficiary or executor passes away, your estate plan must be updated to reflect these changes.

Changes in Assets or Liabilities

  • Acquisition or Sale of Property: Buying or selling significant assets, such as real estate or a business, requires updates to your estate plan to accurately reflect your holdings.

  • Changes in Wealth: Significant increases or decreases in your wealth, such as inheritance, winning the lottery, or experiencing a financial loss, should prompt a review of your estate plan to ensure it aligns with your current financial status.

Tax Law Changes

Estate tax laws are always subject to policy change, and these changes can play a role in the effectiveness of your estate plan:

  • Federal Estate Tax: Changes in federal estate tax exemptions and rates may require adjustments to your estate plan to minimize tax liabilities.

  • State-Specific Tax Laws: In Missouri, specific state tax laws can impact your estate plan. Staying informed and making necessary updates can help you optimize your estate's tax efficiency.

Changes in Personal Relationships

Personal relationships evolve over time, influencing your estate planning decisions:

  • Estrangement or Reconciliation: Changes in relationships with family members or friends can affect your desired distribution of assets. Updating your estate plan ensures it reflects your current wishes.

  • New Relationships: Forming new significant relationships, whether romantic or platonic, may necessitate including new individuals in your estate plan.

During Regular Review Periods

Even in the absence of major life events, it’s prudent to review your estate plan periodically:

How to Update Your Estate Plan

Review Your Current Documents: Assess your existing will, trusts, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents to identify necessary changes.

Consult an Estate Planning Attorney: Professional guidance is crucial to ensure that your updates are legally sound and comprehensive.

Make Necessary Amendments: Depending on the changes needed, you may update existing documents or create new ones.

Communicate Changes: Inform your executor, beneficiaries, and any other relevant parties of the updates to your estate plan.

How Northland Elder Law Can Help

At Northland Elder Law, we specialize in assisting Missouri residents with comprehensive estate planning services. Our experienced attorneys understand the intricacies of state and federal laws and are dedicated to ensuring your estate plan remains current and effective.

We offer personalized consultations to review your existing estate plan and identify necessary updates based on your unique circumstances. Whether you’ve experienced a major life event, a significant change in assets, or simply want to ensure your plan is up-to-date, our team is here to help.

Contact Northland Elder Law Today 

Updating your estate plan is crucial for protecting your legacy and ensuring your wishes are honored. Contact Northland Elder Law today to schedule a consultation and let us help you navigate the complexities of estate planning with confidence.


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