When was the last time you reviewed your will, trusts and health care directives? If it's been a while, it may be time to take a second look to make sure everything is still thorough and relevant.
Just two weeks ago the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case stemming from an out-of-date estate plan. A federal employee failed to remove his former spouse as the beneficiary on his life insurance policy even after remarrying. When he died, his ex-wife collected nearly $125,000 in federal benefits rather than his widow.
This case illustrates the human and financial burden of letting your estate plan go stale. In addition to missing out on the assets you want them to have, your loved ones may end up engaged in stressful, time-consuming and expensive litigation. The best way to spare them that burden is by periodically reviewing your estate plan and keeping it up-to-date.
Just about any major life event can call for an estate plan facelift. If you get married, divorced, have a child, have a loved one become ill, become ill yourself or make any big-ticket purchases like a home, it can change your entire financial situation.
If you have recently undergone a life change, consider getting in touch with a financial advisor or estate planning attorney to review how it could change things for your loved ones after you're gone. And if you haven't yet drafted an estate plan to begin with, there is no better time than now. It may be unpleasant to think about, but consider the importance of taking care of the people you care about.