As an adult in California, you need an estate plan. In fact, adults anywhere and of any age can benefit from creating plans no matter their family dynamics or financial situations. These instructions can prove immensely useful to family members when the time comes to handle your care needs or settle your estate.
You may feel that you are ahead of the game because you have already created your estate plan, but it is not wise to simply create a plan and never revisit it. In fact, several life events could present the need to update your plan to suit your current circumstances and wishes.
When should you update?
Though updating your plan every few years is prudent, some events may result in a need to review your plan sooner. Some events you may need to consider in association with your estate plan include the following:
- Having children: If you have children, you need an estate plan that addresses their guardianship in the event of your and the other parent's passing and that addresses the assets you want them to receive after your death. If you created your plan before having children, it needs updating.
- Getting married: Whether you marry for the first time or subsequent time, updating your estate plan to include your spouse as beneficiary or to put him or her in charge of certain decision-making scenarios is wise, especially if you wish to appoint your spouse to such a role.
- Getting divorced: Because many marriages end in divorce and most people do not want their exes benefiting from their estates, updating estate plans to remove ex-spouses can help prevent complications.
- Entering retirement: If you have reached retirement age, it is likely that your plans have been in place for some time and that your retirement accounts have had the same beneficiaries for some time. Because relationships can change over the years, you may want to update your plan to ensure that your named beneficiaries are still living and to ensure that designations name your desired beneficiaries.
Of course, these events are not the only ones that can lead to a need to update your estate plan. A simple change of mind could easily mean that you need to alter the details of your estate plan. Fortunately, you can work with your attorney to ensure that your plan reflects your wishes throughout your life.