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How do I know when to update my estate plans?

You may think that the only time you need to review your estate plans is when you are creating them. This misconception can result in your loved ones settling your estate and affairs differently than you planned. You may have a busy lifestyle in Illinois that leaves you little time to deal with certain important affairs. Regardless of what life throws your way, you should make time to review and update your estate plans periodically. 

Here are signs and events that indicate that it is time for you to update your estate plans. 

You gain or lose an immediate family member 

If you get married, divorced or become widowed, you should update your estate plans to reflect your new relationship status. According to Fidelity.com, not updating your beneficiaries on your estate planning documents can lead to unwanted consequences. When it comes to divorce, an ex-spouse could inherit from your estate and prevent your beneficiaries from receiving an inheritance. To prevent complications, you should remove the names of individuals you do not want to benefit from your estate and include the names of people you do. 

If your spouse dies and leaves you an inheritance, you may want to include it in your estate plans so it gets passed down to your beneficiaries upon your death. When you have children, you should modify your estate plans to reflect any trusts and funds that you want set aside for them. You should also include provisions for people you want to become their legal guardians if something should happen to you before they reach adulthood. 

You experience major changes to income 

Your income may change periodically all throughout your life. When it does, you should immediately update your estate plans to ensure that all changes are reflected to ensure the proper funding of your estate. If you do not, your loved ones may not be able to benefit from the legacy you leave behind. 

Updating your estate plans regularly can help keep your loved ones from fighting over them. It can also keep your estate from having to go through a lengthy probate process.

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