Life changes? Update your estate plan

Conversation, advice, updates and tips from your friends at UBT.

March 30, 2023

Your estate plan shouldn’t be a static document — it needs to change as your life changes. While year-end is a good time to evaluate your plan, you should really be reviewing it periodically. This ensures it still meets your main objectives, accounts for any life events that have taken place, and is up to date.

When revisions might be needed

What life events might require you to update or modify estate planning documents? The following list isn’t all-inclusive by any means, but it can give you a good idea of when revisions may be needed:

  • Your marriage, divorce, or remarriage
  • The birth or adoption of a child, grandchild, or great-grandchild
  • The death of a spouse or another family member
  • The illness or disability of you, your spouse, or another family member
  • A child or grandchild reaching the age of majority
  • The sale or purchase of a principal residence or second home
  • Your retirement or retirement of your spouse
  • Receipt of a large gift or inheritance
  • Sizable changes in the value of assets you own

It’s also important to review your estate plan when there’ve been changes in federal or state income tax or estate tax laws.

Your will and powers of attorney

As part of your estate plan review, closely examine your will, powers of attorney, and health care directives.

If you have minor children, your will should designate a guardian to care for them should you die prematurely, as well as make certain other provisions, such as creating trusts to benefit your children until they reach the age of majority, or perhaps even longer.

Your durable power of attorney authorizes someone to handle your financial affairs if you’re disabled or otherwise unable to act. Likewise, a medical durable power of attorney authorizes someone to handle your medical decision making if you’re disabled or unable to act. The powers of attorney expire upon your death.

Typically, these powers of attorney are coordinated with a living will and other health care directives. A living will spells out your wishes concerning life-sustaining measures in the event of a terminal illness. It says what means should be used, withheld or withdrawn.

Changes in your family or your personal circumstances might cause you to want to change beneficiaries, guardians, or power of attorney agents you’ve previously named.

Revise as needed

Mid-year and end of the year is a natural time to reflect on the past year and to review and revise your estate plan — especially if you’ve experienced major life changes. We can help determine if any revisions are needed.

We hope you found some of our tips helpful! This article is part of the Planning for the Future, part of UBT's Five Principles of Financial Wellness Series.


  • Personal
  • Retirement
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Management
  • In Retirement

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