There are generally two reasons to update an estate plan: (1) as part of a routine review; and (2) due to major life events. It is recommended that everyone review their estate plan every two to three years and make any necessary updates. However, there are certain events that warrant immediately updating one’s estate plan. In this article, we review some common events that require updates to your estate plan in Kentucky.
Death of a Loved One
The death of a loved one is an important reason to update your estate plan. If a beneficiary of your estate precedes you in death, there may be unintended consequences when you pass away. For example, depending on how your will is worded, your bequest could go to another person, lapse, or pass along to that beneficiary’s children. And if there is no other beneficiary named in your estate plan, your estate will pass to your legal next-of-kin under Kentucky’s rules of intestate succession, which may not be an outcome you desire.
When you marry, you should update your estate plan to include your new spouse and consider how your marriage may affect any children you may have from a previous marriage or relationship. In the case of a blended family, updating your plan is especially important to ensure your loved ones are provided for in the manner you desire.
Similarly, following a divorce, your estate plan will require some updates. Although in Kentucky, a divorce causes your ex-spouse to be treated as if he or she predeceased you for purposes of distribution of your estate, you should still update your estate planning documents accordingly to prevent any issues. You should also update your beneficiary designations on non-probate assets.
Changes in Health
Finally, changes in your health or the health of an immediate family member may necessitate changes to your estate plan. If you or your spouse will require long-term care, you should consider realigning ownership of your assets. In addition, if you have a disabled child or spouse, there are ways to ensure they are provided for without disrupting their eligibility for government benefits. Further, if your health is declining, you should consider including powers-of-attorney in your estate plan to ensure that your family has the ability to care for you without having to seek a guardianship through the courts.
Shelby County Estate Planning Attorney
Whether you need to update your estate plan or create an estate plan for the first time, Berkley Oliver PLLC is here to help. When you come to us for assistance with your estate planning needs, our knowledgeable estate planning lawyers will use our experience and knowledge to ensure that your estate plan is up to date and legally sound. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our talented attorneys.