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When Should You Update Your Estate Planning Documents?

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to-sign-a-contract-1-1236635-1279x852As we begin a new year, it’s a good time to think about your will and other estate planning documents .  Have there been any changes in your situation that would warrant changes?  Here are a few things to consider:

Has there been a change in your marital status?  If you’ve recently married, divorced, or been widowed, you need to take a look at your will and also at any insurance policies or financial accounts where you have a designated beneficiary.  You will want to update all of those accounts and your will to reflect the change.

Have there been any new additions to your family?  If you’ve added a child or grandchild to your family, either through birth or adoption, you may want to revisit your will to make sure they are included according to your wishes.  If you have minor children, it’s important to designate a guardian and it might be a good idea to consider a trust for the assets that are left to them.

Have you moved to a new state?  Estate laws vary from state to state and the language that is used in your will and other estate planning documents is very important.  Have an attorney in your new home state review your documents and revise them to be in compliance with any state laws.

Has your financial situation changed significantly?  Financial changes can increase or decrease the different estate planning opportunities available to you.  Seek advice from your estate planning attorney to make sure you have the best tax and inheritance benefits for  your situation.

Are your executors, trustees and/or guardians still able to fulfill their responsibilities?  Take a look at those people you have appointed to take care of your estate when you are gone.  Are they still living?  Have their life circumstances changed in a way that would prevent them from serving as such? You might touch base with them and make sure they are still on board.

These are just a few of the reasons you might need to make changes to your estate planning documents.  Take some time to review your situation and discuss with your estate planner.  Talk about how to safeguard your assets and make sure that they are distributed according to your wishes.  It will give you peace of mind and save your heirs a lot of red tape when the time comes.

If you need help finding an estate planner, give us a call at 817-330-9235.  We have relationships with financial planners and attorneys who specialize in helping seniors and we would be glad to connect you with them.

 

 

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