Family members updating estate plan

Estate planning is not a one-time affair. Throughout a lifetime, circumstances change, as do desires, priorities, and the fabric of our families. Regular updates can help to ensure your estate plan serves your evolving needs and stays aligned with your wishes. That’s where Shaw & Nelson can assist you.

As a leading estate planning practice serving clients in Cincinnati, Louisville, and the surrounding area, we are here to guide you through every phase of your estate planning journey. Whether you are just starting or need to update your plan, we can help. With in-depth knowledge of trust and estate law, we are the trusted choice. Book a call today with an experienced estate planning attorney. 

Why Regular Updates Are Necessary

There are several reasons to update your estate plan. Every family witnesses its share of marriages, births, divorces, and deaths. Each may significantly alter how you wish to distribute your assets. Ensuring your estate plan mirrors your familial relationships and desires can prevent misunderstandings and conflicts later. 

Moreover, your financial situation can alter dramatically over the years. Did you enter a  lucrative business deal, receive an unexpected inheritance, or suffer unfortunate losses? Your estate plan should reflect your current financial standing. Finally, tax laws, property rights, and estate-related regulations can change, making it crucial for your estate plan to adhere to the latest legal standards. No matter the circumstances, our legal team is here to help you align your estate plan with life’s changes. 

When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Several common life events necessitate an update:

  • Marriage or divorce – Changes in marital status can significantly affect how you may want to distribute assets or who you wish to assign as decision-makers in emergencies.
  • Birth or adoption – Welcoming a new family member means ensuring their financial well-being and security.
  • Significant financial changes – Whether you’ve come into an inheritance or your business has seen significant growth, your estate needs to account for these changes.
  • Retirement – Transitioning from working to retirement may prompt you to reconsider your distribution plan and asset management strategy
  • Change in health or longevity outlook – A sudden illness or prognosis can necessitate adjustments in your healthcare directives and financial plans.
  • Purchase of real estate or other significant assets – Newly acquired assets should be properly incorporated into your estate plan.
  • Relocation or moving to a different state – Different states have different laws. Relocating can mean needing to adjust your estate plan accordingly.

What to Review in Your Estate Plan

Your estate plan is a dynamic reflection of your life’s journey, detailing your wishes and instructions for distributing your assets. Therefore, it’s essential to periodically scrutinize its critical components, such as:

  • Will or trust – These foundational documents determine the distribution of your assets upon your passing. Verify that all beneficiaries are listed accurately and that bequests or gifts remain relevant. If an executor or trustee is named, ensure they are still suitable and available for the role.
  • Beneficiary designations on financial accounts – Certain assets like life insurance or retirement accounts pass to the named beneficiary outside your estate. Periodically review these designations to ensure they mirror your wishes, especially after significant life events.
  • Powers of attorney (financial and healthcare) – These documents grant someone the authority to make financial and health decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Review the agents you’ve appointed, ensuring they’re still appropriate choices.
  • Living Will – This document outlines your preferences regarding end-of-life care and medical interventions. As your health or personal beliefs evolve, this directive must align with your current views.
  • Property titles and joint ownership arrangements – How your property is titled can affect its disposition. Review titles on real estate, bank accounts, and other assets to ensure they’re structured to achieve your desired outcomes, particularly if considering tax implications or probate avoidance.
  • Guardianship decisions for minors – If you have named guardians for minor children in the event of your untimely death, revisit these choices to ensure they remain appropriate. Consider the guardians’ current circumstances, ages, health, and willingness.

Ultimately, a comprehensive review will highlight gaps or inconsistencies in your estate plan and ensure it reflects your wishes.

Update Your Estate Plan With Shaw & Nelson Today

Whether you’re setting up your first estate plan or revisiting one crafted years ago, we will work closely with you to ensure that every detail mirrors your current wishes. With life’s unpredictable nature, having a seasoned team by your side is not just a convenience—it’s a necessity. At Shaw & Nelson, we bring a legacy of trust and dedication to the table. 

We pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with our clients, offering both clarity and comprehensive solutions. Every decision, every alteration, is made in consultation with you, ensuring you’re always in control. The future may be uncertain, but your legacy will be secure when you update your estate plan. Trust our attorneys to help protect your legacy, ensuring it stands the test of time and change. Contact us today to get started.