What Significant Life Events Would Warrant A Call to Your Estate Planning Attorney?

By Joshua Berkley

Proper estate planning ensures that one’s assets and healthcare wishes are followed according to an individual’s desires when they make decisions for themselves and their families. Certain significant life events often warrant a review and/or change to your estate planning documents. Berkley Oliver PLLC has experienced estate planning attorneys who can help you create or revise documents to fit your needs.

Marriage or Divorce

A change in marital status will undoubtedly affect how you would like your assets to be distributed. A new marriage might mean adding a spouse as a beneficiary, while a divorce might mean revoking a former spouse’s rights as a beneficiary or fiduciary.  A divorce will generally automatically revoke provisions in favor of a former spouse in Kentucky, but it is still advisable to update your documents to reflect your current wishes.

Birth or Adoption of a Child

The addition of a child to the family can have significant estate-planning implications. You may want to ensure the financial well-being of the child in case something happens to you. This might also be the time to appoint a guardian in your will in the event both parents are unable to care for the child.

Death of a Beneficiary or Fiduciary

If someone you have named as a beneficiary (someone who stands to inherit from you) or a fiduciary (someone you have designated to act on your behalf, such as an executor, trustee, or agent under a power of attorney) passes away, it is crucial to update your estate planning documents to reflect a new choice.

Significant Increase or Decrease in Assets

A substantial change in your wealth can affect how you would like to distribute your assets upon your death. For instance, if you come into a large sum of money or property, you might want to consider more complex planning techniques, like trusts, to minimize taxes or to better control the distribution.

Moving to Another State

While this may not be as significant a life event as the ones previously mentioned, moving to another state can have significant implications for your estate plan. Different states have different laws regarding probate, trusts, property rights, and other issues that might affect your estate plan. If you move to or from Kentucky, it is crucial to have your estate planning documents reviewed by an attorney familiar with local laws.

New Grandchildren

Grandparents might want to include provisions for new grandchildren in their will or trust.

Acquiring or Selling Significant Assets

This can include buying or selling real estate, businesses, or major investments.

Change in Business Interests

Starting, buying, or selling a business can dramatically affect estate planning needs.


Retirement may change financial circumstances, impacting estate planning considerations.

Change in Tax Laws

New tax laws can affect the efficiency of estate planning tools, and certain strategies might need adjustments.

Health Changes

A sudden or deteriorating health condition might necessitate changes in the estate plan, especially regarding medical directives or powers of attorney.

Changes in Relationships

This can involve falling out with family members or coming into close relationships with non-family members whom you might want to include in your estate plan.

Changes in Charitable Intentions

One might wish to include or exclude specific charitable donations over time.

Contact Berkley Oliver to Schedule an Initial Consultation

It is important to consult with a skilled estate planning attorney if you have experienced a significant life event. Berkley Oliver can ensure that your documents remain valid and that they truly reflect your current wishes and circumstances, and can revise documents accordingly if necessary to do so.

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.