Readers of this blog should understand that the creation of long-term care and estate planning documents can be crucial for people who want to protect their wishes and assets. 

If you already have a will, power of attorney and/or trust in place, you have tackled major aspects of planning for your future. However, to make sure these documents and wishes continue to be relevant and enforceable, it can be crucial that you review and update them from time to time. 

In fact, there are three times when it can be especially wise to revisit your estate planning documents.

  1. When your marital status changes: If you get divorced or married, you will likely want to update several aspects of your estate plan. For example, if you named your now-ex-spouse as your power of attorney, you will want to change that so he or she is not the one making decisions on your behalf. If you get married, you can make sure your new spouse and any children are included in your estate planning documents if you wish.
  2. If someone passes away: If a beneficiary, your assigned power of attorney agent or executor passes away, you should update your estate documents to name someone else. Leaving these positions or assignments unfilled could affect how and if your wishes are carried out properly.
  3. If several years have passed since you created the documents: A lot can change over time, from your relationships to your financial health and goals. Revisiting estate planning documents if you haven’t done so in quite some time can be crucial in making sure they still reflect your wishes.

Creating your estate plan is one of the best things you can to do make sure you and your loved ones are protected when you pass away or can no longer make decisions on your own. However, it is also important to periodically review your estate plan at times like those mentioned above.

Taking some time to review your plans with your attorney can help you identify areas that need to be changed or strengthened in order to reflect your current situation. Doing so can significantly benefit you and those who will be affected by the changes made and not made.

Source: KARE 11, “Life events that impact your estate plan,” Feb. 17, 2016