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5 times to update your will and estate plan

Some people think that making an estate plan is a one-time act. The reality is that you do need to go back and review it from time to time. There are also specific times when it makes sense to go back and change or alter the estate plan due to changes in your life.

Although you might not need to update your will with every major life change, there are several times when you'll want to consider doing so including the following five.

1. You receive a significant asset or funds

Any time you receive a large amount of money or significant assets, it's smart to talk to your attorney about protecting it or them with your estate plan. Depending on their value, there may need to be changes in your estate plan to prevent taxes, too.

2. Death of a loved one

If you had named a loved one as a guardian, beneficiary or other party in your will or estate and they pass away, it's necessary to review your will and estate-planning documents to remove them.

3. State laws had major changes

When state laws change, your will and estate plan could be affected. It's a good idea to pay attention to changes in state law, because if you don't change your estate-planning documents, you could find that they don't protect you in the ways you'd hoped in the future.

4. Several years have passed

How often you review your plan is up to you and is something to talk about with your attorney specifically, but remember to review your estate plan and will once every few years, so that you know what it contains and can see if anything is missing.

5. You get divorced or married

Getting divorce or married also makes a difference. You may want to exclude certain people from your will or estate plan, or you might want to add new people to it. This major life event calls for a visit with your attorney.

These are just five possible times when you may want to consider reviewing your estate plan and potentially making changes. If you aren't sure if your plan needs to be reviewed, you can call your attorney's office or speak with your attorney during a meeting to discuss how often you'd like to review your estate plan and which major life events should result in a review, too.

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