To many residents in New York, an estate plan is something that only old people need, or that only very wealthy people need. Both of these assumptions are quite incorrect. There are many facets to an estate plan that make it important for people of all ages and means to have. From identifying who will make medical decisions on one’s behalf to assigning the flow of assets upon death, an estate plan touches many things.
As explained by Forbes, the two biggest mistakes often associated with estate planning are not having a plan at all and then creating a plan once but never reviewing or updating it. An estate plan should be considered a living thing, like the person to which it is attached. No person’s life remains exactly the same at all times and, therefore, their estate plan should not either.
Fidelity Investments indicates that multiple events should trigger a review of an estate plan. These may include the marriage or divorce of one’s self or one’s beneficiaries. The birth or death of a spouse, child, grandchild or other beneficiary may also necessitate an update. A significant change in the health of a person or their executor or trustee may also make it important to change some elements of a plan.
Job changes, the purchase or sale of major assets, the receipt of a large inheritance, a cross-state move or the purchase or sale of a business are other examples of events that logically change many aspects of a person’s estate plan. Some people find that making a habit of reviewing an estate plan every year an effective way of ensuring it is never out-of-date.