Although many adults are aware of the importance of having a will, fewer understand how critical it is to regularly review and update these documents. Reviewing one’s estate plan regularly is a very good idea, as financial circumstances, relationships and Texas estate laws can all change over time. Estate plans should typically be reviewed every few years at least, as well as whenever there is a major life change like marriage, divorce or retirement.
When the time comes to review an estate plan, the following three questions should be considered along with any other concerns they or their lawyer might raise:
- Have my circumstances changed? This could include personal, financial or business-related adjustments like marital status, business value changes, major purchases and new dependents, to name a few.
- Have my wishes changed? This not only has to do with beneficiaries, but also executorships and powers of attorney. Perhaps the selected person has moved out of state, passed away, or is no longer in one’s life. In these cases, an update may be necessary.
- Do I need to update any account beneficiaries? Accounts such as 401(k) plans and pensions may have a beneficiary named, usually a spouse. If the relationship with this beneficiary has changed, or a new person should be named, these should be updated.
- Would a trust be beneficial to me at this time? Some people may think they do not have enough assets for a trust to make sense when they first draft a will, but later on this changes. It’s a good idea to look into whether trusts make sense when reviewing a will, as it could make a big difference to how things play out after one passes away.
Even though a large number Americans know that estate planning is important, the reality is that only 46% of adults in the country have a will according to a Gallup poll from 2021. Even fewer take the step to regularly update their will. This leads to many difficult circumstances for loved ones across the United States. To help prevent these types of issues and ensure everything is properly planned and recorded, one can speak with a Texas estate attorney.