Like your car, your estate plan is an tool that requires regular tune-ups. Any time you experience a significant life event you will want to make sure your estate plan reflects your new situation. Though almost anything can prompt you to make changes to your plan, here is a list of the three most common moments or events that should have you calling your estate planning lawyer to make a change.
Moment 1: You get married.
Marriage grants both you and your spouse specific rights and obligations under the law. One of the rights each of you acquires is the right to receive at least a portion of your spouse’s estate upon his or her death. This right is also lost if you subsequently divorce. So, any time you change your marital status you should make sure your state plan reflects this change.
Moment 2: You have a child.
Once you have a child you will likely want to make plans in case the unthinkable happens. If you and the child’s other parent should suddenly die, who will be left to care for your child? If you don’t have an estate plan it will be up to the courts to make this determination for you. However, by creating an estate plan you can name your own choice of guardian.
Moment 3: Your financial situation changes.
Any significant increase or decrease in your finances should prompt you to speak to an estate planning attorney. The more you are worth, the more options you have when choosing how to structure your assets so that more of your property passes to your children and other beneficiaries.