You might think that Wills and Trusts planning is something you can complete one time and then check off your to-do list for good. But the reality is that in order for your Will and Trust to work for you no matter how your life changes, your plan needs to change with it.
To make sure any big changes in your life are considered in your plan, I recommend reviewing your Will and Trust with your attorney at least every three years. But if any major life events happen before then, it’s crucial to have your plan reviewed as soon as possible so it can be updated if needed.
Last week, we started to explore 10 life changes that might affect your Will and Trust https://legaljourneys.com/10-life-events-that-signal-its-time-to-review-your-estate-plan-part-1/
This week, we’re covering five more life events that mean it’s time to review your plan.
06 | You Became Seriously Ill or Injured
A sudden illness or injury can leave you incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs. Therefore, it’s essential to review your Will and Trust to ensure it includes Powers of Attorney for healthcare and finances. These documents let you name someone you trust to pay your bills and manage your assets, as well as make medical decisions for you if you can’t speak for yourself.
It’s also important to include healthcare directives that describe what kind of healthcare you want if you become incapacitated. This can include dietary restrictions or preferences, religious beliefs, or limits to certain treatments or life-sustaining measures. By legally documenting your healthcare choices, your Power of Attorney will feel more comfortable in the role and will be able to make medical decisions for you that align with your wishes.
07 | You Moved Here from Another State
Each state has its own laws and regulations regarding Wills and Trusts planning, so if you move here from another state after completing your Will and Trust, it’s crucial to have your plan reviewed by a local attorney. If your existing plan doesn’t meet our state’s requirements for how an Will and Trust is signed or witnessed or contains terms or processes that differ from the processes of our state, this can cause delays when your plan needs to be used and may even require a court to review its validity.
Reviewing your plan with a local attorney and making any changes to comply with our laws will make sure that your Will and Trust can be relied upon at any moment without delay or confusion.
08 | You Got Married
Marriage brings about not only joy and celebration but also important legal updates that are easy to put off. When you tie the knot, your Will and Trust needs to reflect your new marital status. Some states automatically make your spouse a co-owner of some of your property, but that doesn’t ensure an easy transfer of that property to your spouse when you die. Other states do not make any automatic updates in ownership.
To make sure your assets will go to your new spouse if you die or become incapacitated, it’s essential to update beneficiaries and make arrangements for shared assets. Additionally, you might consider creating provisions to protect your spouse financially and emotionally in the event of your passing.
09 | You Got a Divorce
The end of a marriage is a significant life event that requires immediate attention to your Will and Trust. After a divorce, you’ll likely need to revoke and redo your entire Will and Trust. This includes creating a new Will and Trust, updating beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement accounts, and revising asset distribution to reflect your new circumstances and relationships.
If you have children from your previous marriage, you may need to revisit guardianship arrangements and provide for their financial needs accordingly.
10 | The Law Changed
Tax laws are subject to change, and revisions to estate tax exemptions can have a substantial impact on your Will and Trust. If there are significant changes in federal or state estate tax laws, it’s crucial to review your plan with an Wills and Trusts planning attorney to minimize tax burdens and protect your wealth for your loved ones.
Even if you weren’t affected by federal or state estate taxes in the past, changes in federal estate tax law are scheduled for 2026, so now is the time to review whether this change will affect your family’s estate tax filing status. Estate taxes can cost your family tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, but these tax liabilities are optional and can be avoided with proper Wills and Trusts planning.
By Your Side Through All of Life’s Changes
Your Will and Trust serves as the bedrock protecting your family and finances, not just for today but also for the future. However, Wills and Trusts planning isn’t a one-time task – it should adapt and evolve alongside the changes in your life.
As your Personal Family Lawyer®, my mission is to be by your side through all of life’s changes, ensuring your Will and Trust remains up-to-date and effective no matter what life brings your way. That’s why I offer my clients a complimentary review of your Will and Trust every three years, and I encourage you to reach out at any time before then with questions about life changes or events that might affect your plan.
If you’re ready to create an Will and Trust that protects your loved ones and your legacy, or want your existing plan reviewed, give me a call. I’d be honored to help ensure your family’s well-being for years to come.
Please schedule a 15 minute consultation with or office by calling (256) 850-3431!
This article is a service of Legal Journeys, LLC, a Personal Family Lawyer® Firm. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.