When to review an estate plan

While making an estate plan is an important step for people in South Carolina, keeping that estate plan updated is just as important. For example, an estate should be updated each time a person has a new child. A will can name a guardian for a child as well as a trustee for the child’s assets.

As children get older, there may need to be changes. For example, a parent may want to update a will after an adult child marries to ensure that the spouse does not have access to assets the child inherits if they get a divorce. A child who once needed a guardian named in the will might be named as an executor later. Another complication that might arise is if children or other beneficiaries develop issues with substance abuse or creditors. In this situation, it may be necessary to create a trust to protect the assets.

Divorce is another reason to change the estate plan. Timing is important here since some changes cannot be made until the divorce is final. The death of an executor or others who have roles in the estate plan also means an update is needed. Other reasons to update an estate plan may include losing the original will, moving to a new country, experiencing a change in assets or family conflict, or responding to changes in the law.

If an individual dies and has no will or the family has doubt about the estate planning documents that do exist, they may want to consult an attorney. In some cases, it may be necessary to challenge a will because the individual might not have been competent at the time the will was made or may have been unduly influenced by another individual. There may also be cases in which the will is poorly prepared and the person’s wishes are unclear.