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Making an estate plan is a good way for Kansas City residents to ensure their assets and medical care will be handled in the manner they prefer should they become incapacitated or pass away. However, it is important to blow the dust off that old estate plan from time to time, to make sure it still reflects your wishes.

One key life event that warrants a go-over of your estate plan is a wedding or divorce. If you have recently divorced, you will want to make sure your ex is removed from your estate plan, and if you have remarried, you want to make sure your new spouse is included, where appropriate. It doesn’t end there, though. If you are fortunate enough to see your children or grandchildren marry or divorce, this may also be a good time to review your estate plan. Also, if a relative has since become dependent on you, you may want to make sure your estate plan includes provisions for his or her care.

It is also important to keep your health care agent and executor up to date. If the person you originally named in these roles has become seriously ill and can no longer carry out their duties or have passed away, you need to update your estate plan accordingly. Similarly, an executor may have changed his or her mind, and no longer wish to serve in that capacity.

Of course, if you have gained (or lost) significant assets since first creating your estate plan, you need to update your plan to reflect this. Perhaps you wish to give more to charity, or you wish for more funds to go to certain heirs. Similarly, your values regarding your wealth may have changed as you have gotten older, so a review of your estate plan may be a good idea.

Each state has its own rules regarding modifying an estate plan, including Kansas. It is important, therefore, before executing any changes to your estate plan to ensure you are doing so in a way that make the changes legally binding and enforceable. If you have questions about how to do that, you may want to seek legal help before making the changes official.

Source: The Community Voice, “What to review when updating your estate plan,” Ken Weise, Sept. 15, 2016