Your estate plan ensures the distribution of your estate according to your wishes after your death. It also provides direction for your care in the event of your incapacitation.
An estate plan includes more than a will. It includes several documents that you should revisit whenever there is a significant change to your life.
When your family grows
After birth or adoption, you should revisit your estate plan to include the new member of your family as an official beneficiary. After marriage, you should change your plan if you want to assign your spouse as your health care power of attorney or to be the personal representative for your estate after your death.
After a divorce
Once your life has been legally separated from your ex, revisit your estate plan. Some states will automatically disqualify divorced spouses from inheriting. Still, you should name a new health care power of attorney or personal representative of your estate if they had held that position. Additionally, suppose you listed family members of your ex as guardians for your minor children. In that case, you may want to reconsider if you are still comfortable with that decision based on your relationship with your ex.
After a significant change in finances
If the value of your estate dramatically changes, you should review your estate plan to ensure that you are still satisfied with the distribution of your assets. If the value of your estate increases significantly, you may wish to set up a trust or make charitable gifts.
Aside from major life events, you should review your estate plan every three to five years. Remember to update beneficiaries for life insurance, stock and other investments whenever you change your estate plan.