Leave a Lasting Legacy.
Protect What's Yours.

What Legal Steps Should Families Take to Update Their Estate Plan After Major Life Changes?

Latest Articles

Why Is It Important to Update Your Estate Plan After a Major Life Event?

Estate planning is crucial as it helps you protect your family assets and legacy. The plan comprises many legal documents and is not a one-off event. It’s an evolving plan that should reflect your current wishes and circumstances.

When you experience major life changes, legal experts from a law firm in Florida advise that you update your estate plan. Failure to update the plan can have severe consequences. For example, if you divorce and fail to remove your ex-spouse from the list of your beneficiaries, they may be entitled to a share of your estate after your death against your wishes.

In another scenario, you may get additional children, and failing to update your estate plan may leave the children out of your list of beneficiaries. If you don’t update the plan to reflect how you would like them to be cared for after your demise, the court may have to choose a guardian to manage their affairs.

Which Major Life Changes May Necessitate an Update of Your Estate Plan?

Estate planning varies across individuals, and what may feel like a major life change for one person may not be as significant for another. However, estate planning attorneys in Miami recommend updating your estate plan under the following circumstances:

Marriage or Divorce

Your spouse is a prominent party in your estate plan, so you will want to include them in your estate plan if you get married. Similarly, you would want to remove an ex-spouse from your plan after a divorce. You may designate your child, sibling, other loved one, or personal representative in charge of your estate after your demise.

Birth and Adoption

A new family member is an essential addition to your family; you should include them in your estate plan. Even if you plan to leave everything to your spouse, it’s advisable to include alternate beneficiaries to receive your property in case your spouse dies before you.

Leaving out your children, whether biological or adopted, could lead to confusion, broken relationships, and anger.

Consult skilled Miami estate planning attorneys on how best to appoint your beneficiaries and what to assign to who. They can provide crucial insights to minimize potential misunderstandings after you’re gone.

Relocation to a New Jurisdiction

If you move to a new state or country, estate planning attorneys recommend updating your estate plan. Different states and countries have different requirements that can dramatically affect the administration of your estate plan. Steps such as notarizing the signatures of witnesses or including specific language in your Will could make probate more manageable for your loved ones.

These are just a few significant life events that can make it necessary to update your estate plan. Other events include the death of a beneficiary, acquisition of new assets, illness, starting or closing a business, changes in your life or long-term care insurance coverage, and changes in state or federal estate planning laws. Ensure you plan accordingly to reflect these changes.

What Steps Should I Take to Update My Estate Plan After a Major Life Event?

Updating your estate plan after a significant life change can be as complex as creating the initial plan. It’s advisable to work with experienced estate planning lawyers in Florida to help you navigate the legal and financial implications of the changes. They can guide you on the steps to take to update your existing estate plan successfully:

Review the Existing Estate Plan

The first step is to assess your existing estate plan and identify the areas that need updating. With the guidance of estate planning lawyers in Miami, you can identify areas, such as legal documents to add to the plan, changes to your assets, changing the executor, or updating the beneficiaries list.

Take Inventory of Your Assets

Before you can make changes to your estate plan, it’s essential to determine the assets currently covered in the plan and the newer ones that need to be incorporated into it. Remember to account for tangible assets like vehicles, homes, jewelry, and other valuable physical items and intangible ones such as retirement accounts, life insurance plans, and financial assets like annuities and bonds.

It would also help to list liabilities, lines of credit, mortgages, and other debts. These must be paid after your demise before your beneficiaries can receive a share of their inheritance.

Determine the Directives You Want to Place

Planning makes it less complex to navigate stressful times in the future. Various estate planning tools make it possible to establish directives on how you would want your estate to be handled in the future.

Consider adding trusts, living Wills, or powers of attorney to your plan to make navigating various events such as illness and other end-of-life matters easier. Your directives will help your estate administrator make the most appropriate decision on your behalf.

Designate Beneficiaries

Choose your beneficiaries for each asset, such as money, physical property, financial accounts, and businesses. If you name the beneficiaries on your Will, ensure they match the other estate planning documents to avoid confusion and lengthy probate. Skilled Miami estate planning attorneys can assess these crucial details to minimize mistakes.

Lawyers also recommend choosing backup beneficiaries if a primary beneficiary is unavailable or dies before the distribution of your estate. Your lawyers can help you create backup beneficiaries in a “residuary” clause in the Will. These will inherit anything that remains from your estate after distribution.

A Skilled Estate Planning Attorney Helping You Update Your Estate Plan

Estate planning can be intricate, especially if you have a large estate and need to update the plan after significant life changes. Working with skilled Miami estate planning lawyers can make the process easier. They can evaluate your documents and help you assess the changes to implement to reflect your current position and future wishes while paying attention to state estate planning laws.

The Perez-Roura Law Firm hosts knowledgeable Miami estate planning lawyers dedicated to helping clients make the most of their estate plans. Our mission is to help you prepare for the legal aspects of your life’s most significant moments to protect your wealth and legacy.

Call us at 305-570-3259 to schedule a FREE consultation.

Related Articles