Checklist for People Considering Modifying Their Estate Plans

The decision to create an estate plan was easy. You didn’t have one and you knew that you needed to make one. That estate plan still reflects the majority of your wishes, but things have changed since it was created. There may be things that you would do differently if you were going to create an estate plan now.

It’s Not Too Late

California law allows you to amend your estate plan. In many cases, you won’t need to start over. Instead, you can make changes to the documents that already exist. Of course, you don’t want to be changing your will, trust, or other estate planning documents all the time, so you need to know when to make changes.

It is important to consider changes when there is:

  • A change in your marital status. This could include a marriage or divorce.
  • The death of someone important to your estate plan. This may include the guardian you named for your child or the executor of your estate.
  • A significant change in the physical or mental health of one of your children or beneficiaries.
  • A change in your business. This is particularly important if you buy or sell a business.
  • A significant gift made by you that impacts what you want to leave to your beneficiaries. If you make a large gift to one beneficiary, then you may want to revise how the remainder of your property is divided after your death.
  • A significant change in your assets. You may need to consider tax implications, for example, if there has been a considerable change in the value of your estate.
  • An interstate move. You need to make sure that your estate plan is valid and fulfills your goals in your new state if you move to or from the state of California.
  • Something nagging you or keeping you up at night. If there is something that is just not right or you want to change, then that might be enough to make this the right to time to change your estate plan.

If you can check off any one of these events as, “yes, this happened to me since I created or last updated my estate plan,” then you should find out more about modifying your estate plan to meet your needs. We invite you to watch our free videos for more information about how to make changes to your estate plan.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm