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Can you alter an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is a process that a testator can continue for the rest of their life. In other words, a testator can update their estate plan to make changes to their beneficiaries, itemization of assets or other important features.

It’s often recommended that a will or trust be updated every three to five years to include new assets. A testator can update their estate plan for any reason. You should read below to learn more:

Common reasons to change an estate plan

While many people update their wills and trusts regularly, it may be necessary to make changes sooner than five years. Here are a few common reasons to alter your estate plan:

  • Marriage/Divorce: Marriage is a life-changing event for many people. Some people will alter their estate plan to include their spouse. They may name their spouse as a primary beneficiary or executor of the estate. It’s also possible to name a spouse as a power of attorney so that they can handle the testator’s medical and health needs on their behalf during a health emergency. However, these changes may need to be reversed if the testator divorces their spouse.
  • Childbirth: Many parents use estate plans for the benefit of their children. Parents may add a child guardian to their estate plan. A child guardian would care for a child if the parents pass away. Or, parents may include a trust in their estate plans. A trust could be used to fund a child’s future, such as their education.
  • Falling-out: Unfortunately, an estate plan may need to be altered because there was a conflict with someone included. For example, the executor was caught stealing and could not be trusted to settle the estate.

You don’t have to have a reason to update your estate plan. However, it can help to learn about your legal options before making changes to a will, trust or other legal documents.