Putting together an estate plan is a great first step in preparing for your future. Keeping your plan up-to-date as your life progresses will support its desired execution.
A lot of emphasis focuses on the importance of having an estate plan. However, an outdated plan is nearly as futile as having no plan at all.
There are many reasons why you may need to change aspects of your estate plan. For example, according to U.S. News, life circumstances such as job changes, marriage, accumulation of assets and the births of your children may all impact your initial decisions. Beneficiary designations, in particular, can wreak havoc on your final wishes if you neglect to update them throughout your life.
An outdated plan may leave your surviving family members to face the confusing task of figuring out what you wanted. This confusion could create tension and discord that prevents your family from focusing on grieving and supporting each other. Verifying the alignment of all moving pieces, such as retirement benefits at former jobs, and updating your plan to reflect any changes can provide your family with clarity and confidence.
Imagine your surviving family finding out that your assets legally still belong to a former beneficiary that you forgot to change. Divorce, for example, requires you to update your beneficiaries to remove your ex from your plan. Forgetting to make this change may mean that your ex still rightfully inherits certain assets even if you remarried.
Keeping your plan updated can help you better protect your assets. With an up-to-date plan, you can have confidence that your assets will end up with people you care about.