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Why you should consider updating your estate plan

One of the things we have pointed out before on this blog is that estate planning, rather than being a one-time thing, is actually an ongoing process. One does not set up an estate plan and then go on without ever thinking of it again. The goal is to set up something that fits you and your family's needs if you were to die right now. But those needs often change over time, at least to some extent.

A recent Forbes article took a look at five different reasons one should think about revisiting their estate plan. We'll take a brief look at them.

The first point the author makes is that relationships can change over time. This could mean to money, assets, or responsibilities given to one person or another may no longer be appropriate. There are a number of reasons these relationships could change-and it isn't always negative-so it is good to make sure things still make sense.

Another thing to consider is that kids eventually grow up, and it may be wise to look at whether any protective measure set in place still make sense.

A third reason to take another look at your estate plan, especially for older folks, is that you may know more about your health now than you did when you first set up your estate plan. Not only that, but medical science has a better ability to predict nowadays, and it is worth considering whether anything may need to reflect what you now know.

One's personal property profile can change as well, so it is good to make sure everything is in order. Doing so can help prevent family fights and confusion.

Finally, it is good to continue updating one's estate plan because one's focus will change over time. Folks in their 70s, for instance, are beginning to think about what they want to leave behind. Their children are already grown, and no longer have the same needs they used to.

These are just some of the reasons that can come up in an estate plan review. Each person's situation is different, though, and various other issues can arise.

Source: Forbes, "Five Reasons Baby Boomer Need To Review Estate Plans (And It's Not About Taxes)," Deborah Jacobs, March 29, 2012.

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