5 Times in Life When You Need to Update Your Estate Plan

One of the only things certain in life is change. When your estate plan was originally created, it was based on your circumstances at the time as well as the current state and federal estate planning laws. If you reflect on what’s happened in your life between then and now, it’s easy to see how the constant change makes it necessary to revisit your estate plan.

In general, you should update your plan every three to five years. There are also five times in life when you definitely need to visit an estate planning attorney and make changes that reflect your current situation. Let’s take a closer look at each one. 

  1. Marriage

When you get married, your legal and financial status change in several ways. You share income and assets, file taxes together, and the marriage affects the ways that your property may be distributed after you pass away. If you have children from a previous relationship, you may want to update your Will to protect their inheritance rights while providing for your new spouse.

  1. Divorce

When you get divorced in Texas, it doesn’t invalidate your will, but it does affect bequests to your former spouse. When it comes to bequests and fiduciary appointments, Section 123.001 of the Texas Estates Code states that they and their relatives will be treated as if they predeceased you unless you explicitly state that they will still inherit after divorce. Revisiting your will and assigning new beneficiaries to everything your spouse would have inherited can prevent infighting and enable probate to proceed more smoothly.

If you created a trust instrument, the effect of your divorce will depend on whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable. If it is revocable, your former spouse and their relatives will not inherit. With an irrevocable trust, however, they will, which is why these trusts should be created after consulting with an experienced Texas estate planning attorney.

  1. Birth or Adoption of a New Child or Grandchild

A new child or grandchild is a joyous occasion, and including them in your estate plan will ensure that they are provided for in case something happens to you and/or their other parent. Although they have inheritance rights, updating your will makes it possible for you to specify what they will receive from your estate and protect the inheritances of your other children or grandchildren. 

  1. Your Spouse or Child Becomes Ill or Disabled

Few things are more heartbreaking than seeing a loved one suffer through an incapacitating illness or disability. Fortunately, you can protect them financially by setting up a special needs trust or adding a special needs trust provision to your will. An estate planning attorney can help you establish a trust that does not affect their eligibility for public benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

  1. Death or Changed Circumstances of a Guardian

If you have named a guardian for your minor children in your will and that individual passes away or their circumstances change and make it impossible for them to care for the children, update your will as soon as possible. Otherwise the court may have to step in and appoint a guardian you would never have chosen yourself.

Contact a Texas Estate Planning Law Firm

Reviewing your estate plan at regular intervals in addition to after significant life events will help ensure that your loved ones are provided for financially and your wealth is distributed according to your wishes. Let Amsberry Law help you make the changes that will give you peace of mind about the future. Please reach out to us today at 210-354-2244 or contact our office online.

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Amsberry Law Firm

The Amsberry Law Firm, founded in 1995, has helped thousands of clients overcome their unique legal challenges.

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