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When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?  

When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

Bloodworth Law attorneys work with Florida clients on legal issues including estate planning. If you’re a Florida resident over the age of 18 you should have an estate plan. But when should you update your estate plan?

An estate plan should be updated when you experience a major life change, and, then again, every three to five years.

You want to occasionally revisit your plan to ensure that trustees and prospective life decision-makers for your health directives remain willing to perform these legal duties on your behalf.

You want to update property and asset values, and be certain that all protections are reflective of your current wishes.

Moving? Estate Planning Laws Are State-Specific

An estate planning change that many people don’t think about is after a move to Florida or from Florida. You may have created your estate plan complete with end-of-life healthcare choices and financial documents in another state.

You’ll likely have to change your estate plan with a move because the people you chose to carry out your legal wishes may not be in your new location. Can your wishes be carried out by a person from another state and are they willing to travel to you in case of an emergency?

If you move, you’ll have to update and change your estate plan with an estate planning attorney in the state you will be living.

Reasons For Updating Your Estate Plan

There are many reasons for updating your estate plan. You may want to add beneficiaries, choose another trustee, change the person who holds your durable power of attorney, or all of your legal documents.

Life changes can force you to update your documents to maintain the security that you want your estate planning to provide. Additional reasons for updating your estate plan include:

  • Birth
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Adoption
  • Moving to another state
  • Change in dependents
  • Career changes
  • New federal estate or tax legislation
  • Health changes or illness (you or a spouse)
  • Disability (you or a spouse)
  • Changes in retirement distribution
  • Homeownership (buy or sell)
  • Open or close a business
  • Increase or decrease in investments
  • Insurance changes
  • Long-term care changes

Still Married After 20-Year Separation

Why is it important to review and update your estate plan? Bloodworth Law has seen cases where married people separate and never change their estate plans leaving those named in the estate to figure out difficult situations.

There was a case with a 25-year married couple who had been living separately for 20 of 25 years and who had not filed for divorce.

Had either one of them died, the other would have been entitled to everything owned — even though both had new relationships. One of them came in, filed for divorce, and created a new individual estate plan.

Guardianship For Your Children

Who will care for your children if both parents die or become incapacitated? Do you know whether the person you’ve appointed in your durable power of attorney is still capable of handling your decisions?

No Estate Plan, Lengthy, Costly Court Processes

Without an estate plan, there is a lengthy and costly court process involved in a court appointing a guardian or conservator to take care of you.

There are instances where you may choose someone to make healthcare choices for you who you are no longer in contact with.

Other Reasons For Updating Your Estate Plan

You may get married or divorced and want to change everything in your existing plan. There are disagreements with beneficiaries, or a need to change trustees if someone no longer wants to take on the legal responsibility you’ve asked of them.

Situations arise where estate plans have to change, or, the legal promises and commitments involved may force you to make different choices involving beneficiaries, personal representatives, trustees, or your healthcare directives.

The Bloodworth Law Team

Florida attorney L. Reed Bloodworth is a 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Lawyer® in Trusts & Estates Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Real Estate Litigation.

Reed is Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law, PLLC, a 2022 U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firm,” with offices in Orlando and Winter Haven.

When life changes, your estate should be reflective of your circumstances. Talk with Reed and the Bloodworth Law Estate Planning team about how to ensure that your loved ones are cared for and that your legacy is protected.

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