Can I change my estate plan once it’s created?

Changing your estate plan once it’s been formalized is possible and advisable. Whenever you experience significant life events, you should revisit your will and other documents to ensure they still fit your needs. A skilled Fairfax estate planning attorney from Select Law Partners PLLC can review your existing documents and help you make advantageous estate plan changes.

estate plan changes

Why should I update my estate plan after it’s finished?

The decision of how and when to update your estate plan depends on changes to your family or finances. You may have purchased additional assets or experienced a health crisis. When any of the following events occur, you should consult with an estate planning lawyer to determine how to adjust your plans:

  • Addition of a new child or grandchild through birth or adoption
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Minor children or grandchildren turn 18
  • Purchase of new property or homes
  • Relocation to another state or country
  • Serious illness or disability
  • Starting a new business
  • Substantial change in your income, assets, or liabilities

You may also need to make estate plan changes if you no longer have a relationship with the person you’ve chosen as your executor or if that person dies before you. If you decide to remove beneficiaries from your trust or will, you must legally change the documents to update your wishes. Finally, federal or state tax law changes could affect your decisions.

How often should I review my estate plan?

You should assess your estate plan with the help of a legal professional every three to five years. In addition, you should update the documents any time one of the life events listed above occurs. Always keep a copy of your estate plan safely stored so you can review it when needed.

What’s legally required to change my estate plan?

How you update a document depends on the type of instrument. The goal is for all amendments to be legally binding. Under Virginia law, you can change your will by signing a separate document, called a codicil, with two disinterested witnesses. You can also write an entirely new will. Changing a trust may require rewriting the trust terms, and the exact process depends on whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable.

Updating advance directives is best done with a new document indicating your wishes. To establish, amend, or revoke a healthcare power of attorney, you must include specific information and have the document signed by two disinterested witnesses.

Failing to take precautions regarding the legality of your estate plan can lead to confusion after your death. Simply writing your wishes on the existing document could invalidate the entire document, leaving your estate subject to Virginia descent laws.

What mistakes should I avoid when changing my estate plan in Virginia?

To ensure your wishes are accurate and current in your estate plan, avoid these mistakes:

  • Using DIY websites to create your estate documents.
  • Making changes too frequently or quickly.
  • Ignoring potential tax implications around changing a will or trust.
  • Putting off updating documents when a major life event, such as marriage, divorce, or a new child joins your family.

By establishing a relationship with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can protect your interests and those of your loved ones.

Contact Select Law Partners PLLC to learn more about estate plan changes

Give yourself peace of mind by scheduling an estate plan consultation with a skilled Fairfax estate planning lawyer at Select Law Partners PLLC. Call (855) 541-4867 or submit our online message form today.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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