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Does Your Estate Plan Match Your Life Stage?

Estate planning is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that evolves as your life does. At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we understand that because life is dynamic, your estate plan must be updated to reflect your present life stage and your current goals. 

Changes occur in many different aspects of your life so your estate plan must be flexible to accommodate transitions. Contact our experienced estate planning attorneys now to discuss such changes and be guided through them effectively and efficiently.

Changes in the Family Constellation

Births, Adoptions, and Child-Related Changes

The arrival of a new family member, either by birth or adoption, is a joyous occasion that necessitates an update to your estate plan. This includes appointing a guardian in your will and possibly setting up a trust to ensure your child’s financial security. If your child has special needs, establishing a Special Needs Trust can be critical to provide for your child without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.

Marriages, Divorces, and Remarriages

Marriage typically means updating your will to include your spouse. Conversely, divorce often requires an overhaul of your estate plan to remove your former spouse from wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations. Remarriage, especially with children from previous relationships, requires careful planning to balance the needs of a new spouse and existing children.

Death in the Family

The death of a significant person in your life, like a spouse or a beneficiary, necessitates revisions to your estate plan. This might include reallocating assets, updating beneficiaries or even naming a new personal representative, trustee, or guardian.

Financial Changes

Because much of your estate plan is based on financial matters, any major changes in the way your money comes and goes may require changes to that plan.

Income Changes and Property Acquisitions

Significant increases in income or the purchase of major assets like a home or business should trigger a review of your estate plan. This might involve updating your will or trust to include these new assets, revising your plan to minimize potential estate taxes, or preparing for business succession.

Inheritances and Windfalls

Receiving an inheritance or windfall can significantly alter your financial landscape, necessitating updates to your estate distribution plans and consideration of potential tax implications.

Health Changes

Serious Diagnoses and Injuries

As we age, a serious health diagnosis or injury can change your life dramatically, making it crucial to adapt our estate plans accordingly. Collaborating with an experienced elder law attorney can be invaluable in ensuring that your estate plan thoroughly addresses your needs through the aging process. This includes regularly updating your Health Care Proxy to nominate a trusted individual who can make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Furthermore, it’s important to revise your HIPAA Authorization to specify who can access your healthcare information. Additionally, having a Living Will, or Advance Directive, is essential to clearly communicate your preferences regarding end-of-life care. Taking these steps helps safeguard your healthcare wishes and ensures they are respected as you age.

Planning for Incapacity

Planning for the possibility of incapacity is a critical component of estate planning. This includes having a Durable Power of attorney in place and potentially setting up a living trust, allowing a designated individual to manage your affairs if you’re unable to do so.


Graduations, First Jobs, and Retirement

Milestones such as your children’s graduations, first jobs, or your retirement are moments to reassess your estate plan. This might mean adjusting trusts, considering the impact of retirement savings on your estate, and updating your plan to reflect your new lifestyle and financial situation.


Moving, especially to a different state, can have significant implications on your estate plan due to varying state laws. It’s crucial to review and potentially revise your documents to ensure they comply with the laws of your new residence. Changes to your estate plan may also include alterations as a child marries and/or moves out of the home or if some family members move back in.

How Our Attorneys Can Help With This Process

At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we specialize in helping clients navigate the complex and often emotional process of estate planning. Contact us now so our skilled attorneys can guide you through, ensuring that your estate plan remains vital and relevant no matter what life stage you’re in.