Once a person in Texas has created an estate plan, they should not put it away and forget about it. Estate plans may need regular review.

As a person’s life changes, their estate plan should reflect those changes.

Family changes are common reasons to update

For example, when a person has a child, the will can be updated to appoint a guardian for the child. The estate plan might also need to be revised if the child develops issues with creditors or a substance abuse problem. A child’s marriage may also be a reason to update the estate plan if the parent is concerned about the child’s spouse and wants to protect assets in case of divorce. A trust might offer protection in these situations.

Divorce for an individual is also a reason to revise an estate plan. A divorcee will want to ensure their assets aren’t left to the wrong people, such as an ex-spouse. Many people worry about their children receiving their inheritance, especially when it comes to divorce and remarriage.

If an executor, a beneficiary or anyone else who has a role in the estate plan dies, it will also be necessary to update it. For example, many people name their spouse as executor, but if a spouse dies, a child can step into this role. Laws may also change, necessitating a change in the estate plan. A change in assets, moving or acquiring property in another country and losing the original will are all reasons to revise the plan. Finally, a change in the plan may be necessary if any element is likely to lead to family conflict.

Is it time for an update?

Some people may not realize what options are available to them or the consequences of certain arrangements, and an attorney might be helpful in this regard. For example, if a person wants to make a loved one who has special needs a beneficiary, it may be necessary to set up a trust. This will allow the person to keep drawing any government benefits. An attorney may also help ensure that the correct legal language is used in documents and that the person’s intentions are clear.