It’s winter in Wisconsin and all you can think about is a nice warm tropical location. You plan a nice vacation (without the kids) and a few weeks before you’re set to fly out of the country, you remember: you haven’t updated your estate plan in years! You panic, call us, and we update your outdated documents right before you’re ready to jet off to some nice warm place.
It happens all the time! We know that it is easy to get your documents signed, stick them in the safe and forget all about them. But just like your car, your will and estate plan need regular maintenance! It’s pretty simple: review your documents at home every year to make sure that any names listed are correct and that there have not been any major changes that are not reflected in your documents.
Events That Impact Your Will and/or Estate Plan:
It’s a good rule of thumb to review your estate planning documents at the end of every year.
After the busyness of the holidays, reflect back on what has happened over the last year and do a quick once over on your current will or estate plan. But what should you be looking for?
We have put together a quick list of 7 reasons that it may be time to update your estate planning documents:
- The Birth or Adoption of a Child or Grandchild. In the case of a birth or adoption, you will want to create or update your will to include your new bundle of joy and to potentially name a guardian for the new arrival. However, this does not only apply to your children. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and Godparents will want to add any children they wish to include in their estate plan as well.
- Marriage. On top of all of the marriage and name change documents that newlyweds have to deal with, it is very important to update estate planning documents to include your new spouse.
- Divorce. In the case of divorce, you will want to update your will and/or estate plan as soon as possible to remove your ex-spouse.
- When a child or grandchild turns 18 years old. Your child or even a grandchild turning 18 might spark some changes to your will and/or estate plan. Upon turning 18, a child is now able to act as a power of attorney . It might also be a good idea to think about a will and/or estate planning documents for the now legal adult child or grandchild.
- Illness or disability of a spouse or child. In the case of disability or a long-term illness of your spouse or child, you will want to meet with an attorney to ensure that your estate plan properly names and protects you and your family.
- Changes in relationships. It’s easy for relationships with family and friends to change over time. Review your beneficiaries, representatives, guardians, trustees or executors to see if any relationships have changed or if the person listed is still capable of acting in such a role.
- 5+ Years Have Passed Since Your Last Document Update. Even if it appears that nothing has changed, we recommend having our estate planning attorneys review your documents every few years to ensure that there have been no new laws that would impact you.
Estate planning can be difficult to think about, however, having the proper documentation in place makes things much easier upon your passing. By regularly checking your will and/or estate planning documents, you can rest assured knowing that your wishes will be carried out to your specifications.
If it’s been a few years since you last looked at your estate plan, or if you just never got around to getting a will or estate planning documents drafted, contact our Green Bay Estate Planning Attorneys today (920) 499-5700. Whether is a quick update, or a complete revision of your documents, we are more than happy to sit down with you to discuss the right estate plan for you and your family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Markie Bernardy is the Marketing Director at Gerbers Law, S.C., a small law firm in Green Bay, focusing on business law and estate planning. In her role as Marketing Director she works hard to create engaging and informative content for clients and strives to better inform those looking to understand the basics of legal topics.
Markie grew up in Green Bay and graduated from St. Norbert College in De Pere. When she’s not busy working on the Gerbers Law website and updating our social media pages she enjoys spending time with her family and two rescue dogs.