Law Offices of Kathleen D. Schneider
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Estate planning is an ongoing process

The creation of an estate plan can occur at any stage of a person's life. Some in Pennsylvania choose to do their estate planning when they are young, for example when they start their own business or have children. Others wait until later in life, risking leaving their estate unplanned in the event of an incapacitating illness or untimely death. No matter when one executes an estate plan, it is often beneficial to revisit and perhaps revise the plan at critical junctures in life.

A common mistake spouses make after divorcing is failing to amend their estate plans. While some elements of a plan become invalid automatically after a divorce decree is signed, others remain intact. Likewise, someone whose financial situation changes for better or worse will want that reflected in his or her will or trust. Otherwise, the terms of the documents may make no sense to one's beneficiaries.

Welcoming children or grandchildren into the family is another good reason for an estate plan review. Similarly, if loved ones pass away, it may be time to revise one's beneficiary designations. Some people retire to warmer parts of the country or move closer to family. Laws for estate planning vary in each state, so having a will or trust reviewed by an attorney is recommended after a move out of state.

Even if none of these changes occur, there are still ample reasons for a frequent review of estate planning documents. As time passes, people's assets, preferences and goals change. One may learn of a special charitable cause and want to include a bequest for that charity. It may also be important to consider power of attorney or health care proxy designations. Seeking the advice of an attorney has allowed many in Pennsylvania to keep their estate planning up to date and relevant.

Source: fdlreporter.com, "Best reasons to update estate plans include marriage, divorce, move, birth", Isabell Mueller, April 27, 2018

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