Estate planning does not end once your estate plan is in place. You have to periodically review your estate plan and update it to reflect changes in estate laws, your attorney’s advice and changes in your circumstances and/or preferences.
Constantly changing tax laws have an impact on your estate planning objectives, so you need to keep abreast of these changes and modify your plan accordingly. Change in marital status, such as divorce, can throw your estate planning goals into a tailspin. Whereas the plan was to provide for a spouse, now you may not feel as generous. You will need to develop a new plan, especially if you have children. On the other hand, when you get married you may wish to provide for your new spouse and any children who are involved.
Unexpected illness to a loved one warrants a change in your estate plan to accommodate their special circumstances or needs. This may involve a plan to create trust that will not disqualify the individual for government benefits. You may also wish to review your estate plan if you have a change of heart about a particular relative or trusted friend whom you designated to manage your assets upon your death.
Like marriage, an addition to the family (new or adopted baby) can dramatically change your estate plan. You may want to arrange it so that your children are provided for if you and your spouse are gone, which would also involve appointing a guardian and conservator.
It goes without saying that any changes involving the extent or nature of your assets warrant an immediate review of your estate plan. The same rules applies if you or your spouse receives or anticipates receiving a large lump sum inheritance.
Finally, if you move to another state, you need to make sure your estate plan adheres to the estate laws of your new locale. Estate planning documents are usually valid regardless of what state you live in, however, each state does have its own peculiarity.