There are some people who sign their will once in their life and never change it. They may have executed their estate plan late in life, or after they were diagnosed with a serious disease. However, even if your family life and finances are pretty basic, there are still changes in the law that you may need to incorporate into your estate plan. Some of the people that you named in your will could also have died or moved away.
Forbes’ recent article, “Why You Should Change Your Will Now,” warns us that if you have taken the “one and done” approach to your estate plan, think again. In addition to the reasons already mentioned, your assets may have changed dramatically since you signed your will. The plan you put in place years ago, may not have considered new federal and state estate taxes. Now that you have accumulated significant wealth that will be passed on to your children, you might need to review your plans for that wealth for your children.
You may want to include grandchildren to help pay for their college education.
It is also not uncommon for parents to want to protect their children from themselves. This can be because of addiction issues or a lack of financial literacy. If that is an issue, some parents elect to hold monies in trust for adult children, as a way to ensure that the funds will be there throughout the child’s lifetime.
A person’s estate plan should grow with them over time. In fact, it should go beyond being just an “estate” plan. It should become your total “Family Protection Plan.” An estate plan for a twenty-something may be very basic, but a newly-married couple will want to include provisions for their spouse. Parents need to think about providing for and protecting their children. Adult children have another set of concerns and you need to prepare for the possibility of divorcing spouses, poor life choices, addiction issues and just poor money management. There are many stages in life when you may need to readjust the provisions for your children in your estate planning documents.
If you haven’t looked at your will in a while, do it now. And scheduling a meeting with a professional estate planning attorney to update your plan is the best thing you could ever do for you and your family.
Reference: Forbes (August 27, 2019) “Why You Should Change Your Will Now”