Your estate plan ensures your final wishes are respected. It can help you to both reach your financial objectives in retirement and keep you protected in the event of incapacity, or other health care crisis. However, life happens. This means that things in your life may change and your priorities may shift. As a result, your California estate plan may need to be adjusted periodically to reflect those changes.

You may wonder, though, what are some of the life triggers that should prompt an estate plan re-evaluation? What life events can dictate that your plan must be evaluated? What life events do not? We know this can be challenging to balance when your goal is to ensure that you are protecting yourself, as well as those that matter most to you.

Our clients, as well as friends and advisors, frequently ask us when they should update their planning. While you never “must” update, let us share five of the reasons why you may want to consider updating your estate plan right here in our blog.

1. Moving out of state. Every state has unique estate taxation laws. Depending on how your estate plan is structured, the move could put you at an advantage or a disadvantage. Your estate planning attorney may be able to help you make the appropriate changes to protect your assets and your family.

2. Gaining or losing a family member. There can be joyful changes in your life that occur, such as welcoming a new grandchild. If you have new beneficiaries, you may want to change how your estate is distributed at the time of your passing. Conversely, if you lose a family member, you need to consider that as well. This especially holds true if that person was your decision maker under any of your estate planning documents.

3. Getting divorced or remarried. Many married couples have reciprocal estate planning, or an estate plan where spouses leave everything to each other outright. If you get divorced, however, it is prudent to change your estate planning as soon as possible. Similarly, if you remarry, you will likely want to make provisions for your new partner.

4. The value of your estate has changed. If the value of your estate has either increased or decreased, it may be time to review your decisions and decide whether or not they still make sense, considering the new circumstances.

5. Your decision makers need to change. Your decision makers are the people you entrust to implement your estate plan when the time comes, so it is critical to ensure they are all willing and able to do the job. Advanced age, health care concerns, or a change of location for your decision makers could, ultimately, impact the success of your estate plan.

These are just a few of the reasons why you may want to update your estate plan. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your questions. If you have recently experienced any significant changes in your situation, now is an excellent time to schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney to consider re-evaluating your estate plan.