If there’s one thing that’s certain in life, it’s that nothing stays the same forever. In fact, you might describe living as a series of changing events. If you have passed age 35, 45 or older, you probably have a lot to look back on and can see how your life has changed over the years. When life changes, your Florida estate plan should change with it.
The average person’s life includes a major change every five years or so. If you experience a life change but fail to update your estate plan, it can cause problems for your loved ones down the line. The 5-year plan is a good rule of thumb. Of course, if you need to update your plan before five years are up, you can do that, as well.
Life changes that create a need for updating an estate plan
As you go through life, some years may be more wrought with change than others. The following list shows numerous issues that commonly arise every few years and often necessitate a change in an estate plan:
- A birth or adoption in the family
- Divorce or remarriage
- Career change
- Acquiring a large asset, such as a home
- Starting or closing a business
- Receiving a large inheritance
- Illness or disability
You might experience several of these changes within a few years or encounter similar issues that would require additions, deletions or changes in your current estate plan.
Examples of documents you can update when life changes occur
If you have already executed an estate plan in Florida, then later get married, you would no doubt want to update several documents in your plan, such as your last will and testament. You might also wish to add a power of attorney to your estate plan, granting your new spouse the authority to make decisions on your behalf, if you become incapacitated.
If children are born or adopted in your family, you might wish to create or change a revocable trust to include the new family member’s name. The purchase of a home might prompt you to change a trust or will, as well. If you execute a power of attorney and the person you have designated to act on your behalf later dies, this would be another document you should update, unless you already included a second person to fulfill the role if the primary designee is unable to do so.
Make it a habit to review your estate plan
Whether you update your Florida estate plan every five years or prefer to review it more frequently, you can adapt your review habits to fit your needs and goals. It is always good to rely on guidance and support from someone who is well-versed in Florida estate and probate laws.
Keeping your plan updated is one of the best things you can do to protect your assets and to help your beneficiaries avoid legal complications or disputes when the time comes to administer your estate.