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Are changes to your estate plan needed?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2021 | Blog, Estate Planning & Probate |

While it may take some effort, completing an estate plan could be worth all the work. Estate plans and their corresponding documents establish directives and guidance to family members and others under various circumstances. For example, a last will and testament ensures that the testator’s wishes guide asset distributions, not New Jersey intestate laws. Completing the steps may not end the process, however. People might benefit from periodically revisiting their plans.

Returning to an estate plan for review

Circumstances change, and so might relationships. A testator could name a specific person as the primary beneficiary of all his or her assets, but the relationship could sour. Perhaps writing that person out of the will is unavoidable. Other more positive developments could spawn changes, such as the birth or adoption of a new child. The testator might come into a windfall of money or inherit property.

Estate plan revisions don’t always involve a will, either. Transfer on Death accounts may require an update on the beneficiaries. A divorced person probably doesn’t want to keep an ex-spouse as a beneficiary, but the ex-spouse will remain a designated beneficiary unless removed.

Additional motivations to change an estate plan

Estate plan preparation involves more than writing a will or trust and taking steps to address things taking place after one’s death. Estate plans could also focus on documents that address matters while the estate planner is still living.

For example, someone who wishes to delegate financial responsibilities could name an agent in a power of attorney contract. Revisiting the plans may lead to naming a new agent or outright tearing up the contract.

Medical matters might lead to revisions on health care proxy or living will documents. Financial or health-related situations may not remain static, so changes to the corresponding estate plan could become necessary.