Tips for when to update an estate plan

People in New York may want to consider revising their estate plan when they undergo major life changes, such as the birth of a child or a divorce. However, there are other situations that could also prompt the need to change an estate plan. For example, if a child is getting married, but a parent thinks the marriage will not last, the parent may want to revise the estate plan and create a trust to protect the child’s assets in case of divorce.

If a child or another beneficiary develops substance abuse issues, this is another reason to set up a trust. On the other hand, a child may become responsible with age, and a person might want to update the estate plan to make the child an executor. When laws change, an estate plan might need to change as well. For example, changes by Congress in the last decade have affected estate tax exemption, business succession and planning in same-sex relationships.

People whose assets have changed may need to update the estate plan to reflect this. Moving to another country or buying property abroad could mean it is necessary to make another will for the second country. Another reason to revise an estate plan is in anticipation of later conflict. A no-contest clause could prevent family members from challenging a will.

People might want to talk to an attorney about estate planning to protect family and assets. One reason to work with an attorney instead of using a do-it-yourself plan is that DIY plans may be very narrow in what they offer. With an attorney, people can discuss their goals for their estate plans, such as helping grandchildren pay for college or ensuring that a relative with special needs is cared for, and an attorney can suggest solutions.

FindLaw Network