Five Reasons to Revisit Your Estate Plan

estate planning nj

Five Reasons to Revisit Your Estate Plan

If you have an estate plan in place, you’ve already taken an important and responsible step. Perhaps you are even one of the few people who sat down and carefully planned your estate in your early adulthood. But if that was at least a decade ago and you haven’t thought about your estate since signing your will, the likelihood is that your documents no longer reflect your current circumstances or wishes.

Unfortunately, too many people make this very mistake. Wills are created and left untouched for many years, until their writers pass away. And confusion over an outdated will often leads to disputes among family members and beneficiaries about the deceased’s intentions.

You may feel relief knowing that you have an estate plan in place. However, it is important that you routinely revisit your estate plan over the course of your life, and especially when any of the following occurs:

  • New family members and friends — Has your family grown? You may want to include grandchildren, nephews and nieces in your last will. Additionally, your friend circle may expand. Or, you may recently have discovered a new charity or organization that you feel is important and should benefit from your wealth after your pass away.
  • Former family members and friends — Unfortunately, as time passes friendships may break. Even familial relationships can become bitter. In the event that you wish to remove a beneficiary from your will, you’ll need to sign an addendum or redraft it completely.
  • Your executor or co-trustee ages or dies — If you named someone to be an executor or trustee decades ago, that person may now be elderly, incapacitated or possibly dead. You may want to name your children or younger family members or friends as executors or co-trustees. When making such a decision consider age, skills, trust, geographic location and profession.
  • Change of assets — If you signed your will many years ago, it may not effectively address your current assets. In the event that your assets have increased or become more complex, you may want to create a trust or use other financial tools as your attorney advises.
  • Change of values — Again, depending on when you signed your will, your values wishes regarding advanced healthcare and financial directives may have changed. You should maintain updated information on what should happen to you and who should care for you if you become incapacitated.

Every few years and after every major life event you should revisit your estate plan to ensure that it correctly reflects your last wishes. For assistance drafting or updating your will in Springfield (Union County) or Lebanon (Hunterdon County) or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact Alec Borenstein, Esq., a partner with the firm, at alec@bmcestateplanning.com or call 908­236­6457 today.

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