Articles Tagged with Update Estate Plan

Individuals often ask Houston estate planning attorneys about some of the worst mistakes that can occur during—or after—the estate planning process. One of these fatal errors is when estate plans are not updated as the person’s situation in life changes. An estate plan—detailing who the person would like to receive their assets after their death—is based on the individual’s relationships at the time the estate plan is drafted. However, throughout the years, relationships and situations change that might precipitate the need to change the plan. Because it can be confusing to know if an estate plan needs updating, below are common questions and answers about this topic.

What Are Some Common Life Changes that May Alter an Estate Plan?

Common examples of life changes that may impact an estate plan include divorce or change in relationship status, the birth of a child, or the death of a loved one. In the case of divorce, there is often a need to change estate plan documents after the divorce is finalized. In many cases, spouses are named as beneficiaries in wills, life insurance, and retirement plans. However, if the beneficiary listed is not changed by an attorney, the ex-spouse will likely receive the listed policy or asset if the person dies.

Signing document"Many have not taken adequate steps to review and update these plans since the moment they were signed. Meanwhile, major life events such as marriage, the birth of a child or the launch of a business may have occurred."

Estate plans are not a one-shot deal. They are like a snapshot of your life at a particular point in time. An old estate plan shows how your property and life circumstances looked at the time it was made. But things change over time, and so should your estate plan.

If you never change your estate plan, it might stop doing what you want.  As Forbes points out, in an article titled Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan,” if you do not update your estate plan when your life circumstances change, then you might be risking costly legal battles for your heirs. Significant property acquisitions that are not accounted for in your estate plan can lead to problems. Having additional children or getting divorced can cause problems, if you do not change your estate plan. Tax law changes could make your old estate plan ineffectual.

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