Estate plans are not “set and forget” documents. As you progress through life in North Dakota, numerous life events could impact your estate plan in some way. The decisions you made several years ago may no longer produce the same results or even be entirely obsolete.
Major life events
Births, deaths, marriages, and divorces represent major issues that affect your estate plan. For example, if you were recently married but your existing estate plan says nothing about your new spouse, then you likely want to update your documents.
The death of a spouse or another heir could mean that you need to restructure your estate plan. The death or disability of the person named as your executor is another issue that needs your attention.
As time passes, minor children or grandchildren named as your beneficiaries will grow up. Once these people become adult age, you may need to alter the language in your estate plan to reflect their new legal status as independent individuals. In the same vein, your estate plan might require updating if an adult heir becomes disabled and dependent on government benefits.
Changes in financial circumstances
Personal net worth can go up and down over the course of your life. Retirement may reduce your income, which would warrant a reevaluation of your assets and liabilities. At this point in life, you may also wish to plan for long-term care or asset protection.
At times, people receive large inheritances that change their financial situation. Even if your estate plan covers how to distribute your wealth, the enlarged size of your estate may impact taxes for you or your heirs.
Touch base with your estate plan
Conducting periodic reviews of your estate plan over the course of your life will promote your best interests and reduce unexpected problems for your family. In the absence of major life changes, you should still give your estate plan a look over about every three to five years.