Making an estate plan years in advance is a wise decision. However, it also means that life could change dramatically before you need to put that plan into action. When it does, you want to go over the plan again to ensure that it still aligns with your desires and needs.
Beneficiary designations can create headaches for your estate
One of the biggest problems is if your estate contains assets with beneficiary designations. If so, you need to do more than just update the will.
For instance, maybe you named your ex on your life insurance policy. The whole point was to leave money for them if you passed away. You also noted that in your will. You can update your will to say that the money now goes to your child, but, if you leave that beneficiary designation the same, the money will actually go to your ex.
Remember that the owners of these accounts — the insurance companies — do not really care what your will says. The beneficiary designation instructs them on what to do with the money. They follow those directions to the letter. If you don’t update everything, your child may not get the money you expected or may have to go through a lengthy court process to do so.
Don’t “set it and forget it” when it comes to your estate plans
Many people take a “set it and forget it” approach to estate planning. As you can see, you never want to do this. You constantly need to be considering your rights, thinking through your options and updating your documents so that they get the results you want.