When Life Gives You A Nudge: Updating Your Estate Plan

Life, it is sometimes said, is what happens when you are making other plans.

After all, it is all too easy to let preoccupation with preconceived notions of how life is supposed to go get in the way of actually living it well.

And yet, there is also a sense in which, when living life, it is important to keep updating your plans. And that includes your estate plan.

As we noted in our article on estate plan changes, there are some basic life events that should serve as cues to take a look at your estate plan documents.

One of the most obvious of these events is marriage. If you have a will or trust already in place before getting married, you may very well want to change the beneficiary or other terms after you tie the knot.

Indeed, clarity about the property considerations involved in an upcoming marriage could also in some cases indicate a need for a prenuptial agreement.

Whether they are happy, sad or a bit of both, all marriages end. Some end in divorce. Others end in death. But either way, they end. And so someone who has recently gotten divorced or lost a spouse to death would do well to review the status of his or her estate plan and update it as needed.

When we say your "estate plan," we don't only mean a will or a trust, either. It is also important to have a health care directive in place and to designate a proxy for health care decisions in the event you become incapacitated.

If you recently experienced a life event such as marriage, divorce or the death of a spouse, you may need to name a person to play the role of health care proxy.

Of course, having children is also another cue to take a look at your estate plan. We encourage you to read our article on this subject to find out more.

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