Life tends to change quickly, as many Californians know. Living in a state that has both wildfires and floods, we learn to roll with the punches.
Many people don’t realize that as life changes, so too should an estate plan. Too many think it’s something that you create once and then file away. Instead, an estate plan should be a document that reflects your life. Sometimes it calls for updates.
Keeping estate plans accurate
Here are a few events that should make you consider revising your estate plan:
Divorce or separation: This is a big one. When you and a partner decide to part ways, it’s important that you reflect that in your estate plan. If you don’t change it now, it can lead to ugly situations down the road involving your family and the state.
Grandchildren: On a happier note, new additions to your family also warrant a change. If your family gets bigger, it’s important to make sure your new grandchildren are recognized in any estate planning. If you have mementos you want to pass down, make sure to identify them in your documents.
Moving or buying property: Moving is the perfect time to update your estate plan. You’re probably dealing with paperwork already, so a quick update to estate plan documents shouldn’t be too big of an ask. Make sure your estate plan covers all your properties, both in California and other places.
Retirement or job changes: What many people don’t know is that your beneficiaries for accounts like 401(k)s are on file with the company that held them. This means if you transfer your 401 (k), after retirement or when starting a new job, for example, you must renew your beneficiaries.
Staying on top of changes
When you continually update your estate plan to match your life, it becomes much less of a hassle. Instead of having to do big, sweeping updates of every aspect, you only need to tweak smaller sections of your plan to better reflect your living situation.
A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you create a document that is easily revisable or highlight the most important changes for your outdated plan.