Estate Planning: 5 Reasons to Update Your Plan

Once you've drafted an estate plan, it's also important to keep it updated. Estate planners generally recommend reviewing your plan every three to five years. However, revision times can vary in the wake of significant life changes.

RBFCU Trust Services encourages all clients to schedule an appointment whenever a major event happens to see how it affects your financial goals. Here are a few common events that typically should result in an estate plan review.

1. Marriage Status Change

When your marital status changes, so should your estate plan. If you are a newlywed, you should update your plan to help protect your assets and family legacy.

If you have divorced or remarried, the process can get a little more complicated, especially if you have children from a previous marriage.

Keep in mind that marriage alone does not guarantee your new spouse will provide for your children when you’re deceased. Luckily, many estate planning tools (such as trusts or wills) are available to help address this issue — and give everyone peace of mind.

2. New Family Member

A comprehensive estate plan should account for the birth or adoption of children. After designating a legal guardian, set up a trust to preserve your assets and ensure your children's inheritance is distributed according to your wishes.

3. Assets or Liabilities Change

Assets can come in many different forms: property, money, stocks, etc. Whenever your assets increase or decrease significantly in value or number, you should review your estate plan.

For instance, maybe you've purchased a new home, received a large inheritance from a relative or started a new business. In cases such as these, your estate plan should be modified to reflect these changes.

4. Beneficiary Change

Life is full of natural and spontaneous changes that could impact your beneficiary designations. You may wish to update your beneficiary after having a child, following the passing of a family member, or when a loved one requires specialized, long-term care. Additionally, it's essential to revise all other legal documents to reflect your designation updates, including retirement plans, insurance policies, wills and trusts.

5. Relocation to Another State

Estate planning laws vary by state. While some changes may seem trivial, others are often more impactful. For example, the amount of shares a spouse inherits varies between states. Also, some states require heirs to pay an inheritance or estate tax.

Whenever you move to a new state, you should work with an estate planner and licensed attorney to update your legal devices (e.g., powers of attorney, living trusts, advance medical directives).

Although many circumstances may require estate plan updates — and the change process itself can feel intimidating — there's no reason to feel like you must do it alone.

RBFCU Trust Services, along with our network of attorneys, can help update your estate plan to reflect your current wishes.

Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation appointment today.

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RBFCU Trust Services is a division of RBFCU Investments Group LLC. RBFCU Investments Group LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Trust services available through Members Trust Company, a federal thrift regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Trust and Investment products are not federally insured, are not obligations of or guaranteed by the credit union or any affiliated entity and involve investment risks, including the possible loss of principal.

This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or tax advice regarding your situation. For legal or tax advice, please consult your attorney and/or accountant.