All adults, no matter their means or age, should draft a basic estate plan. But that doesn’t mean that the simple will that you signed at age 25 will serve you and your heirs in good stead two decades later.
In fact, it is advisable to review your estate plan every few years — and always after major life changes occur. Marriages, births, deaths, divorces, adoptions and even significant job status changes should all prompt an estate plan review.
Below are some things to keep in mind when reviewing and updating your estate plan.
Check beneficiary designations
Certain assets and accounts can skip the probate process and pass directly to heirs. This includes IRAs, 401(k)s and life insurance benefits. The reason they are handled as such is that the proceeds are transferred via beneficiary designations. These designations supersede any instructions in your will, so make sure that they reflect your present intentions and not something you intended 20 or 30 years ago that no longer applies.
Suppose you took out a life insurance policy when the kids were young to cover their educational and other needs in the event of your untimely demise. Now, your kids are grown and have children of their own. Instead of them receiving the proceeds of your life insurance upon your death, you now would prefer that your ailing spouse be your beneficiary. Make the change now to ensure your spouse is protected.
Update your life insurance as well
You wouldn’t want your spouse to have to re-enter the workforce in their golden years in order to have money to survive. Having sufficient life insurance coverage can ensure that your loved one will not face economic uncertainty after you are gone.
Your coverage should be enough to match or exceed the income you generate through work, Social Security benefits, pensions or other income sources. That might mean taking out additional coverage in the coming years.
Your Omaha estate planning attorney can suggest other changes that may need to be made in your present estate plan.