We've previously discussed the reasons why you should have an estate plan. The next thing we want to cover is the life events that may require updating those documents. Significant life events can be fun to celebrate, but did you know that some of these life events can necessitate changes to your estate plan? Did you recently retire, get married, make a new investment, sell property, or welcome a new child, grandchild, son- or daughter-in-law, step-child, or step-grandchild into the family? Here, we discuss why updating your estate plan to reflect major life changes is essential and how the skilled legal team at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey can assist you.

Changes to Your Family Makeup

While adding people to your family does not necessarily mean you have to add them to your will, dividing property between beneficiaries after a loved one's passing can be affected when spouses and children are involved. If your family grows, you should consider whether you want to change the wording of your will to include the new members. We often see wills created when parents had only one child and never updated to include the family's second or third children as beneficiaries. Our thoughtful Kentucky estate planning lawyers can draft your documents to include new children or other family members automatically, preventing you from having to update your estate plan every time a new member joins the clan.

Just like adding new members to the family can warrant a review or update of your estate plan, so, too, can divorces or deaths of people included in your will. Since these changes may alter the handling of your estate after your passing, it's vital to consider these scenarios when creating your estate plan. Our lawyers can help you make necessary changes to your estate planning documents after a divorce or death.

Changes to Your Assets and Investments

Adding new property to your estate, such as a house, boat, business, or other investment, is another good reason to consider amending your estate plan. Including new investments in your plan prepares your family to handle the asset after your death or allows you to allocate it to a specific beneficiary if desired. 

Other life events that can affect your estate plan include significant positive or negative changes in your net worth and sales or purchases of investment properties. A substantial increase or decrease in your net worth can change your tax considerations and the type of estate plan that's best for you. Additionally, conducting a thorough evaluation of investment properties and business interests is crucial, especially if you share ownership with partners.

Protecting Your Estate Plan

After creating or updating your estate plan, the next step is determining where to store the documents. A safe, dry location is best, but most importantly, it must be somewhere that the executor of your estate knows about and can easily access. It's vitally important for your executor to know where to find your original estate planning documents. While copies are great, the court will require them to have the original documents for probate proceedings. Also, if you keep your estate plan in a lockbox or safe, ensure your executor has the key or combination. 

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