Do You Need to Update Your Estate Plan?
Yes, and Here’s Why
To be direct, it is unrealistic to think a piece of paper you draft, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work when your life has completely changed years later. We will use the Kendrick family as an example to address the question of do you need to update your estate plan.
Meet the Kendricks
Meet Bill and Karen Kendrick. They got their first estate plan in place when their daughter, Jessica, was born 30 years ago. They updated it when their son Steve came along 4 years later. After attending a living trust seminar 10 years ago, they got a fantastic trust-based plan in place, protecting themselves, their children, their grandchildren, and their dog, Sadie.
Unfortunately, the Kendricks didn’t join a client maintenance program; instead, they elected to take responsibility for calling their attorney for updates themselves. Life got busy and, as you might guess, they never called to update their documents.
Here’s what’s changed in their lives over 10 years.
- Jessica and Steve are now adults and have graduated from college.
- Jessica is married and has two daughters. One of the girls may have autism.
- Steve is also married, and he and his wife are expecting their first child.
- Karen’s mother is now living with Bill and Karen.
- Bill and Karen bought a vacation home in Florida.
- Sadie had a litter of puppies, but has since passed away. Bill and Karen kept two of the puppies.
Do you think their estate plan will still work the way they want it to?
Changes in Your Own Life
The Kendricks have experienced a lot of changes, but those changes are typical of what 10 years brings. Think about the changes in your life over the past 10 years — or since you last updated your estate plan.
Have you moved? Do you have more children or grandchildren? Have you started a business, suffered health problems, or purchased a new home? Do you have new accounts and investments? Do you now care for a parent, pets, or dependent children? Have you remarried, gotten divorced, or retired? Has someone you loved died? Have friends or family named in your plan as trusted helpers moved away, or has your relationship changed? Are your children now adults and able to help you? Do you want to help with grandchildren’s college or dance lessons? Do you see the world in a different way?
Many things have happened in the past 10 years. Your estate plan needs to reflect the changes in your personal life, financial situation, and goals. There have also been changes in the law. We stay abreast of these changes to protect our clients in better and better ways, so the way we do things has changed.
Is Your Estate Plan Out of Date?
If you’ve experienced changes like the Kendricks, or it’s been more than 3 to 5 years since you updated your estate plan, it’s time to have it reviewed and consider updates. We’ll review your plan and chat with you about what has been happening in your life so we can get you and your estate plan up to date, reflecting where your life is now. Visit our website or call us today to evaluate the question of do you need to update your estate plan.