An estate plan is one of the most important legal documents you can ever prepare. With a valid estate plan in place, you can rest assured that your wishes will be honored if you are incapacitated or when you are not around to speak for yourself.
For your estate plan to reflect your true wishes, however, it must be up to date. A good rule of thumb would be to review your estate plan every couple of years or when you experience a significant life event.
Life events and estate planning
Life’s circumstances – your personal needs and circumstances, family and possessions are bound to change from time to time. While Florida estate planning laws allow you to protect your children, spouse and business interests, these protections will only work as long as you update your beneficiaries on your estate plan.
Some of the life events that may necessitate an update to your estate plan include:
Changes to your marital status – The law allows your spouse to directly inherit your marital property. However, it’s important to understand that your spouse may not automatically inherit any property that you acquired before getting married. If you want your spouse to inherit your estate, then you have to include them in your estate plan.
Likewise, if you are divorced, and you no longer wish to have your ex inherit your property, then you may need to remove them from your list of beneficiaries.
Birth or adoption – As your family grows, it is important that you expand your estate plan to accommodate new family members. Specifically, if you’ve had a child (either by birth or adoption), it’s important that you include them in your will and other estate planning documents. Additionally, you need to designate a guardian for them.
An outdated estate plan can cause confusion for your loved ones down the road. Reviewing your estate plan from time to time can help ensure that your wishes are honored after your passing.