A common misconception is that once your estate plan is signed that it’s set in stone and permanent. This fear may lead to avoiding putting together an estate plan altogether, but this misconception could not be further from the truth. Your estate plan isn’t permanent. Just as you go through different chapters and changes in life, your estate plan should change to reflect your situation. Estate plans should be reviewed at least once a year and should be updated after certain life changes. While most aspects of your estate plan can be changed, here are some common changes that may occur:
Relationships can change either for better or worse. This can mean that you may not want someone you initially named as a beneficiary to still receive part of your estate. Getting divorced is an important time to change your plan as you may no longer want your ex-spouse to be in charge of your affairs. On the other hand, you may have a new grandchild, new spouse or partner, or maybe a new charitable interest in which you’d like to include in your plan. The good news is that you can change that! Your estate plan isn’t set in stone and just like your relationships and circumstances change, you can change your plan throughout your life.
Many don’t think about the medical aspect of an estate plan and think that you only are planning for your financial affairs. A proper estate plan also includes your medical decisions in case of emergencies and you become incapacitated and unable to advocate for yourself. You’ll make decisions about your medical care including pain management, life sustaining procedures, and even wishes for your remains should the worst happen. None of this is easy to think about and sometimes you may make a decision that you aren’t sure about. If after some time you decide to change your mind, your estate plan can be updated and your decisions changed.
How Your Assets are Split
Family dynamics play a huge role in our lives and ultimately our decisions when it comes to our estate plans. Traditionally people think that if you have children then your assets are automatically split between them and that there are no other options. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can choose how your assets are split, even when someone would receive their inheritance, like a certain age or milestone. You also don’t have to leave anything to certain family members if you don’t want to. We’ve seen an influx of celebrity headlines stating certain stars are leaving their fortunes to charity and not to their family. All this to say, you can choose what ultimately happens to your wealth, whether certain amounts go to certain people, leaving everything to charity, or leaving everything to one person. There are a ton of options that you can choose and you can always update your wishes as needed.
Your Estate Plan Isn’t Permanent
With guidance from an estate planning professional, you can easily update your plan as needed and receive guidance on the aspects of a plan that would best suit your life. Don’t let the fear of not being able to change something stop you from creating the right plan for you and your family. With the right estate planning professional on your side, you can change and update your plan when you need to and with peace of mind that the wealth and the life you’ve built are all protected and in the right hands when the time comes.
We can help you with these decisions! Contact us and we will guide you through the estate planning process. We offer risk free consultations so we can assess your situation and provide the guidance you need.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.