When it comes to planning for the future, there is really no such thing as being over-prepared. Creating and maintaining a comprehensive estate plan in New York is an important element of preparing for the future. Once you have established an initial plan, the work is still far from over.
Updating your estate planning documents throughout your life can help avoid a contested probate process and keep your loved ones out of a litigious battle once you are gone. Too many estates end up in a complex, time-consuming probate process simply because they contain irrelevant or out of date information.
Important times to update your estate plan
When do you need to consider updating your estate planning documents? In all actuality, prudent planners should revisit their plans every year or two years at the most in order to monitor its relevance to your current circumstances. Beyond this regular schedule, some important milestones that may prompt an updated estate plan include:
- Getting married
- Having children and grandchildren
- Purchasing a home or other property
- Starting a new business
- Moving homes, cities or states
- Losing a loved one
- Getting a divorce
- Leaving a business you own
- Changes in personal wealth
- Developing health issues and illnesses
Oftentimes it's the big, happy moments that prompt and updated will or other estate planning documents. Becoming a parent means planning for the futures of others in addition to your own. An updated beneficiary list is one factor, but you also need to consider who could take guardianship of minor children if need be.
Planning ahead to avoid disputes
After a loved one falls ill or dies, family and others close to the person don't need to add a litigious court battle to that existing grief. Unfortunately, beneficiaries and executors often end up in a situation with a contested will or other estate plan elements which drags on during an already difficult grieving process.
Prudent, comprehensive estate planning can help to lessen the likelihood of this situation happening to you or your loved ones. Consider the importance of keeping an estate plan up to date so as to avoid a complicated, drawn-out probate process.
It may feel easy and convenient to create an estate plan and then put it aside without another thought. You've done the work and taken the time to plan for the future, so don't jeopardize that work by shirking the responsibility of maintaining your estate plan down the road.