It’s a shocking fact that 51% of Americans don’t even have a basic will. If you already have an estate plan, you are at an advantage. However, estate plans are never final—they require updates as life unfolds. A regularly revised estate plan is the key to getting the future you want and controlling your circumstances in the event of unforeseen challenges. Prepared is the best place to be.

In what scenarios should you revise your estate plan?

  • Changing your marital status. Getting married, divorced or remarried has a significant impact on your future. You may want to change your beneficiaries or divide your estate.
  • Having or adopting a child. A child also changes the course of your life. You will likely want to amend your estate plan to accommodate for another beneficiary and name a guardian, in case something should happen to you or your spouse, if you have one.
  • Injuries or other circumstances that affect your beneficiaries. It’s possible an accident could incapacitate a chosen guardian, or a special needs trust needs to be added. Perhaps, given new circumstances, you want to provide a more significant bequest to one of your beneficiaries.
  • Changing your mind. It’s possible that events in your life will lead you to want to alter your plans. A difficult diagnosis or family situation might cause a shift in perspective that influences your estate plan.
  • Shifting monetary circumstances. If your fiscal situation changes drastically, you may need to update your estate plan accordingly.
  • Purchasing or selling a business. Business assets typically account for a significant portion of income. If your status as a business owner changes, it’s time to make alterations to your estate plan.
  • Moving out-of-state or out-of-country. As estate and probate laws differ state-to-state and country-to-country, it’s important to update your will upon every substantial move. Likewise, if you buy additional property in another state or country, it’s wise to include that in your will.

Your estate plan should shift according to your life situation. If you end up with a plan that doesn’t account for all aspects of your life, executing the estate plan can become difficult and disputes may arise.