Perhaps you drew up a will when your children were small. Then, you left the papers untouched in a drawer and never looked at them again. You probably thought you were ahead of the game. According to a recent Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study, only 55% of Americans over 55 have a will at all. But life brings change over the years, and your estate plan should reflect that.
Here are four reasons your estate plan might need refreshing:
1. You had a death in the family
The departure of any relative means you need to re-examine your will. Update dependent information, and ensure your executor and power of attorney are current. Many families have disagreements over splitting assets when the intended recipient has passed.
2. You have grandchildren
More family means more people to love. You want to ensure your loved ones receive part of your estate. You may wish to allocate special items to each grandchild by name.
3. You are retiring
When you retire, your financial situation may change. Without a regular monthly income, you may need to access savings and retirement accounts that were previously untouched.
4. You moved
Any paperwork with an old address could be invalid. Furthermore, the value of your home may have changed during the move. Relocating to a new state affects your plan as well. You will need to update your files to reflect the laws of your new home state.
You should update your estate plan after major life events. When in doubt, look over your documents every three to five years.