I Created An Estate Plan When My Spouse And I Had Kids, Why Should I Update It Now? (Part 1)

Perhaps you met with a lawyer and created an estate plan when you were younger, soon after getting married and having children. Now your kids have grown into adults and may be married and/or have children of their own.

No matter your specific life situation, there are a number of life events and changes that need to be reflected in your estate plan and will likely mean your estate plan needs to be updated. Below are 5 examples of major life changes for which your estate plan needs to be revisited:

  1. You have divorced, been widowed, remarried, or are in a relationship and living together. Following any big change in your family and relationships (new arrivals or departures), make sure to review your estate plan to ensure that your estate is going where YOU want it to go.
  2. Your children have grown up, matured, or are having issues. For any of these cases, it’s important to review your estate plan to see if you want to implement any additional safeguards for your children’s benefit or if it is time to reduce or eliminate existing safeguards now that your children have matured.
  3. You have moved to another state. Often, different states have different probate and tax laws. Meeting with a state-licensed estate planning professional in your new state will ensure your plan is valid, and you can determine if any state specific plans need to be implemented.
  4. Your estate has grown significantly. Our financial situation often changes as we get older. You should periodically review your estate plan and compare your financial situation of then and now. Especially if your estate has grown, be mindful of tax impacts depending on the size of your estate and the jurisdiction of your residence. A good estate planner can identify tax exposure and give you options to decrease or eliminate estate taxes.
  5. You want to create (or change) a philanthropic legacy. Charitable intentions often change as your life and priorities change. You’ll want to review your philanthropic bequests regularly to ensure they still support the causes and organizations you wish to support with the amount you intend.

Next week, I’ll share 3 more life changes for which you should revisit your estate plan.

For help with your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.