Older woman signing estate planning documents

Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan in the New Year

By Joshua Berkley

Many people make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, however, many people also fail to keep them. One resolution that everyone should keep, though, is a thorough yearly estate plan review. A lot can happen in a year, and it’s important that your estate plan reflect this. In this article, we discuss some common reasons to update your estate plan in the new year. 

Marriage or Divorce

Marriage and divorce can each have a big impact on how your assets will be distributed after you pass away. If you are married, you’ll probably want your spouse to inherit your estate. On the other hand, when you get divorced, you’ll likely want to remove your ex from your estate plan, insurance policies, retirement assets, and pensions. Therefore, if you got married or divorced this year, you should consider updating your estate plan accordingly in the new year.  

Birth or Adoption

Bringing a new child into your home is another reason to update your estate plan. Following the birth or adoption of a child, you should review and update your estate plan to ensure that your child is protected. In addition, if you have a new foster child, stepchild, or child with special needs, you should update your estate plan accordingly. 

Buying or Selling Real Estate

The value of your estate can be affected dramatically by the sale or purchase of real estate. Therefore, if you’ve bought or sold real property this year, you should consider updating your estate plan in the new year. You will also want to speak with your estate planning attorney to ensure the deed is held properly to comport with your estate plan and wishes for transferring the property at your death.  If you own property in another state, you may want to consider a Revocable Living Trust to avoid the need for more than one probate matter at your death.

Buying or Selling a Business

Buying or selling a business usually requires you to make some changes to your estate plan. With business succession planning, you can specify who will take over your business when you are no longer able or willing to run it. 

New Medical Issues

Finally, if you’ve been diagnosed with a serious medical issue this year, or you’ve been involved in a serious accident, you should review your estate plan immediately and make any necessary changes. Of particular importance are your designations for who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. 

Contact a Shelby County Estate Planning Attorney 

If you want to ensure that your estate plan is ready for the new year, then you need an experienced estate planning attorney in your corner. At Berkley Oliver PLLC, our Kentucky estate planning lawyers are here to help you with your estate planning needs. Regardless of your unique situation, our experienced attorneys will draft an estate plan that leaves you and your family protected for years to come. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation with a knowledgeable Shelby County estate planning attorney.

About the Author
Josh Berkley is an attorney and owner at Berkley Oliver PLLC who helps individuals implement plans to protect their assets and their loved ones. Josh focuses his practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law.  From assisting young parents in making a plan to provide for their children, to helping senior clients qualify for Medicaid, Josh works with clients to create estate plans and life plans tailored to each person’s specific goals. He also helps clients with a wide variety of important legal documents such Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate Designations, and Living Wills. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Josh here.