Need to Update Your Estate Plan? Yes…Here’s Why

It’s unrealistic to think that a document you sign, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work the same way years down the road. Learn why the Jones family estate plan needs an update.

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Meet the Jones

Meet Gerry and Sally Jones. They got their first estate plan when their daughter, Amy was born. Amy is now 30 years ago. They updated their estate plan 4 years later when their son Brandon came along. They have a fantastic trust-based plan in place, protecting themselves, their children, grandchildren, and dog.

The Jones' decided to take on the responsibility of calling for their attorney for estate plan updates themselves. Life got busy and, as you might guess, they never called about an update.

Here’s what’s changed in their lives since putting their estate plan in place. Amy and Brandon are now adults and through college.

  • Amy is married and has two sons. One of the boys may have autism.
  • Brandon is also married and his first child is coming soon.
  • Sally’s mother is now living with them.
  • Gerry and Sally bought a vacation home in Florida.

Do you think their estate plan will still work the way they want it to?

Changes in Your Own Life

The Jones family has experienced a lot of changes, but those changes might be typical of what 10 years brings. Think about the changes in your life over the past 10 years - or - since you last updated your estate plan.

Have you moved? Do you have more children or grandchildren? Have you started a business, suffered health problems, or purchased a new home? Do you have new accounts and investments? Do you now care for a parent, pets, or dependent children? Have you remarried, gotten divorced, or retired? Has someone you loved died? Have friends named in your plan as trusted helpers moved away or have your relationships changed? Are your children now adults and able to help you? Do you want to help with grandchildren’s college or dance lessons? Do you see the world in a different way?

Many things have happened in the past 10 years. Your estate plan needs to reflect the changes in your personal life, financial situation, and goals. There have also been changes in the law and we continuously learn to protect our clients in better and better ways, so the way we do things has changed.

Is Your Estate Plan Out-of-Date?

We have put together a checklist for you to use in determining whether you need to update your Estate Plan. You can get  your copy by clicking Estate Plan Check-Up.

If you’ve experienced changes like the Jones' or it’s been more than 3 to 5 years since you updated your estate plan, it’s time to call 503-850-8345 for a complimentary estate plan review. We’ll review your plan and chat with you about what’s been happening in your life, so you can get your estate plan update, reflecting where your life is now.

Photo: BW Family - Jen - CC BY 2.0

About the Author Donald Rolfe

I'm a reformed litigator that now helps individuals, families and businesses prevent problems and stop worry. Contact me to learn more about my solutions that may be right for you.

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