When’s a good time to update an estate plan?

Ten years from now, you might be living in a new state or a whole new country. You might get married or have more children. People will come in and out of your life.

Our lives are always changing. If you are not careful, your estate plan could become out of date. It could name heirs, beneficiaries and powers of attorney that are no longer appropriate, such as a former spouse or deceased relative. Meanwhile, grandchildren and a new spouse may have entered the picture. But they are not currently named in your will or trust and could be left with none of your estate after you are gone.

When should I review my estate plan?

Fortunately, Delaware law allows you to make changes to your estate plan at any time. Certain life events are a good time to examine your plan to see if it’s time for an update. Examples include:

  • Marriage or divorce.
  • Birth or adoption of a new child (or grandchild).
  • The person you designated as the guardian of your children in case of your death has died themselves or is no longer suitable.
  • Your spouse has developed a chronic illness or disability.
  • You have purchased a major asset, such as a home.
  • Your relationship with one of your children or other relative has become strained or severed entirely.

Delaware requires that your will, trust and other estate planning documents meet certain legal requirements to be accepted by the probate court. Just as when you originally created your plan, an error in amending something can render the document invalid. Your estate planning attorney can work with you to make the process smooth and error-free.



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