Estate planning is an essential task that provides you peace of mind because it is how you will take care of your loved ones when you are gone. Your estate plan, once put in place, ensures that your estate will distribute your assets according to your wishes.
However, an estate plan is not a document to draft and then forget. Life changes, and so too should your estate plan.
Major life changes can make it necessary to review and adjust your estate plan. If you have recently married, divorced or had children or grandchildren, these milestones can dramatically change how you want your estate divided. A change in relationship status or an addition to the family are pivotal moments that warrant a reassessment of your estate plan.
Substantial changes to your financial situation may also trigger a need for an update. If you have acquired or sold significant assets like a home or business, it would be beneficial to revisit your plan. Even changes in your employment, such as starting a new job, getting a promotion or retiring, can alter your financial landscape significantly.
Moving to a new state
Moving from one state to another often requires an update to your estate plan. Each state, including Maryland, has its own unique laws regarding estate planning. These laws can affect how your estate can divide your assets and how the IRS will assess taxes. Even if you have recently moved within Maryland, reassessing your estate plan is still a wise choice.
Changes in your health or the health of a loved one can also call for a revision. Serious health conditions may prompt you to reconsider who will make decisions for you if you become unable. You might need to modify your plan to accommodate a loved one’s special needs or long-term care.
As a rule of thumb, review your estate plan every three to five years. Regular check-ins ensure your plan remains up to date and reflective of your current wishes.
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Staying aware of the need to revise your Maryland estate plan in the face of significant life events can make the transition easier for you and your loved ones. Keep in mind that an up-to-date estate plan is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your family.