As this is the last blog before we take a break for the holiday (we return on Monday), and as the year is drawing to a close, I thought that I would touch base on the life circumstances that should lead to a review and reconsideration of your current estate plan. The holiday season is a great time for reflecting and making decisions regarding your future and re-tooling your estate planning could be one of those important decisions that you need to make this year.
Many people often assume that once they make a Will they never need to change it again. While that may be true in some circumstances, it is not generally recommended. Life is not static and neither is estate planning. In general, it is suggested that you review your Will approximately every three to five years in order to determine if any changes are necessary.
For example, although making a new Will is not the most obvious thing to think of when you are about to get married, it is necessary to do so, because marriage operates to revoke a Will executed prior to the date of marriage unless the Will is expressly made in contemplation of marriage. Accordingly, if you are getting married and you have a Will, you will need to prepare a new Will.
Other circumstances that should give rise to a review and consideration of your current estate plan include but are not limited to:
- the death or incapacity of any one or more of the beneficiaries or executors;
- changes to your relationships with any one or more of the beneficiaries or executors;
- a breakdown in your marriage or the marriage of one of the beneficiaries;
- new additions to your family or the families of any one or more of the beneficiaries;
- changes to your net worth or your significant assets, such as the acquisition of new assets or the disposition of existing assets;
- changes in your testamentary wishes, such as a new interest in philanthropy or a desire to benefit new beneficiaries.
Best wishes for a great holiday season.