Getting your estate plan in place can feel like a major accomplishment (and it is!), but it is not the end of the story. Estate planning itself is the process of guiding the way in which assets pass to your loved ones after your death and ensuring your wishes are followed. Checking in and reviewing your estate planning documents regularly and when certain life events occur is part of this ongoing process.
While the estate plans we prepare for our clients are intended to be long-lasting and flexible documents, there are certain times when you should pull out your will or trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and other estate planning documents to be sure they still reflect your wishes.
Below is a list of some times when you should do this:
The birth or death of a child
The people you have named to act on your behalf are deceased or no longer appropriate for the role
Your children are no longer minors
You get divorced or remarried
The death of your spouse
The purchase of real estate
You or your spouse is ready to retire
You receive an inheritance
You anticipate you or your spouse needing long-term care
You start a business
You have made plans to transfer your farm or business to one of your children
Substantial increase or decrease in the size of your estate
Significant changes in Minnesota or federal estate tax rules, court rules, or other laws that may impact your estate plan (to stay updated on these changes, subscribe to our quarterly newsletter)
You decide to include a charity in your estate plan
At the very least you should review your documents every three to five years
Not every situation on this list will result in you needing to actually make a change to your documents, but reviewing your documents can head off any unanticipated consequences of some of these events. If you decide you need to make an update, or if you're not sure, contact your estate planning attorney.
To speak to an estate planning attorney at Ward & Oehler, call (507) 288-5567 or send us an email.
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