6 Steps to Follow When Updating Your Estate Plan

Naperville, IL estate planning lawyer

Planning for the future is important for everyone, and estate planning can ensure that your and your loved ones’ needs will be properly addressed in the years to come. A comprehensive estate plan can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, and it can provide peace of mind for your entire family. However, as life changes, your estate plan should change too. 

Understanding the steps for updating your estate plan is essential for ensuring that it will reflect your current circumstances while honoring your wishes. An experienced attorney can help you understand your options and make sure you follow the proper legal procedures as you make these types of updates.

When to Update Your Estate Plan

Life is unpredictable, and various events can trigger the need for an estate plan update. Here are some common situations that may warrant a review and revision of your estate plan:

  • Major life events: Changes in marital status, as well as births or deaths, often require adjustments to beneficiaries, guardianship designations, and power of attorney appointments. When welcoming a new child into your family through birth or adoption, you may need to update your will to include guardianship provisions and terms that will provide for his or her financial support. You may also need to update your estate plan to address the death of a family member who would have been a beneficiary or executor.
  • Changes in financial situation: Starting or selling a business can significantly impact your estate plan, including provisions related to succession planning. Substantial changes to your assets or debts may require modifications to your estate plan to ensure that your assets will be distributed as intended.

Steps for Updating Your Estate Plan

Updating the various parts of your estate plan involves several steps to ensure that these changes will accurately reflect your current circumstances and wishes. As you address these issues, you can do the following:

  1. Review your current estate plan: Gather all relevant estate planning documents, including your will, trusts, powers of attorney, and any healthcare directives. Look for any provisions in these documents that may be outdated or no longer relevant due to changes in your life or your financial situation.
  2. Assess your current situation: Consider any recent life events, changes in family dynamics, or financial developments that might impact your estate plan. You may want to discuss these issues with your family members or other trusted advisors to determine what types of changes you should make.
  3. Consult with an attorney: Discussing the potential changes to your estate plan with an experienced lawyer can help you make sure you understand the implications of your decisions. Your attorney can advise you on what updates to make while ensuring that the changes are legally sound. They can work with you to formally document all changes and ensure that they comply with state laws and regulations.
  4. Update legal documents: Make necessary changes to your will, such as updating beneficiaries, executors, and guardianship provisions. If you have established trusts, you can update them to reflect new assets, beneficiaries, or changes in trustee appointments. You can also ensure that your power of attorney documents are up-to-date and designate trusted people who will be able to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if necessary.
  5. Update beneficiary designations: You will need to review bank accounts, retirement plans, life insurance policies, and other financial accounts that have designated beneficiaries. If necessary you can make changes to ensure that beneficiary designations align with your overall estate planning goals while avoiding conflicts or unintended consequences.
  6. Inform key individuals: When making changes to your estate plan, it is important to inform the people you have designated as executors, trustees, or agents with power of attorney. This can ensure that they fully understand their roles and responsibilities and will be able to follow your wishes. You may also share your updated estate plan with key family members or other beneficiaries to ensure they understand your wishes.

Contact Our Naperville, IL Estate Planning Lawyer

Keeping your estate plan up-to-date is essential for protecting your assets and ensuring that your wishes will be honored. If you have experienced significant life changes or simply want to review your existing plan, the DuPage County, IL estate planning attorney at the Gierach Law Firm can help. Contact our firm at 630-756-1160 to arrange a consultation and make sure your estate plan will meet your needs.

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Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.

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