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Keeping Your Estate Plan Updated

Life isn’t static. Our Pocatello estate planning attorneys know that the circumstances for each of our clients are always changing. We have over 70 years’ of experience working with each of our Pocatello clients to meet their unique estate planning needs. Our goal for each client is to help them create and keep a customized and current plan to protect them while they are alive and to give their money and belongings to the people they choose after they die. Our partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson, and our attorneys Nathan Palmer and Dave Bagley form our Pocatello Estate Planning team that has received the highest ratings from Martindale & Hubbell, Justia and AVVO. We are confident that our team can help you.

Change is an undeniable part of life. It can alter the circumstances of our life in many ways. Because of this, it is important that each client’s estate plan is updated when a change occurs. Our goal is to ensure that your instructions and wishes happen the way you want. There are really 5 major events that can happen where we advise our clients to review their Pocatello estate plan to decide whether it should be updated.

1. When You or a Loved one Gets Divorced

A divorce changes everything. Relationships, how money is handled, who owns what property, and who you may want to help you with your property after you die are all changed when a divorce happens. When a divorce occurs, either yours or an heirs or even when it is a person you’ve named as your Personal Representative, the Guardian for your children or as a Trustee, your estate plan will likely need to be updated.

With our many years of experience we have seen instances where a client names their spouse as an heir or as their fiduciary and then a divorce occurs. In this circumstance where the documents have not been changed, that divorced spouse is still named and may still have the right and the authority to distribute , to receive, or to take care of the money and/or property you leave behind. When a divorce occurs to you or to a loved one, you should automatically review your estate plan and see if changes need to be made.

2. When a Person Close to You Dies

The death of a person close to you is the second major event that should automatically cause you to review and update your estate plan. Whether it is the death of your spouse, or a child or some other person who might be an heir/beneficiary or a fiduciary for you, you may need to update your plan. This is particularly important if the person who died was named in your plan to hold a Power of Attorney for your healthcare or your finances. When a person close to you dies, review your documents. It is very likely that your Pocatello estate plan will need to be updated.

3. When There is a Birth

Like a death, the birth of a person who could be your heir/beneficiary is another important event that should motivate you to review and update your plan. If you have a new child or grandchild or if the person who was born may be some other type of person you want to name as a beneficiary, your plan needs to be updated to include them.

It is true that in Idaho there are statutes that protect children who are born and are omitted from or not named in a person’s Last Will and Testament. However, the law is ever changing. When a child is born they should be named in your estate plan. This is also true for grandchildren and other non-related beneficiaries who don’t have the same statutory protections that children have. If these individuals are not named in your plan then they will receive nothing, even if you wanted them to.

4. When You or Others Move Away

A fourth and often-overlooked event that can happen that should cause you to review your estate documents is when you or someone else moves away. People are more mobile now than ever before. It is common for people to move to new towns or new states. Fortunately many states honor a Last Will and Testament that was valid in the state where it was created. But, not all states do and the law is always changing.

Moving often has the effect of changing the property that you own. The best example of this is your home. If you’ve moved from Idaho to another state, or vice-versa, then you likely have a different home. Who you want to receive your home, or other property, may change after you’ve moved.

Additionally, an update may be needed when someone other than you moves away. For instance, if the person you named in your Power of Attorney for your finances health care moves away you may need to make a change. It could be difficult or even impossible for a person who moved away to do what you want. It is important that the person or people you named can follow and fulfill your directions.

5. When a Large Amount of Time has Passed

A fifth event that happens to everyone that may result in a need to update your documents is time. When a large amount of time passes, everyone’s circumstances can change. This includes your ideas or plans. What you thought was a good idea seven or eight years ago may not work now. Really a person should review their estate planning documents every 5 years or so. Ideas, priorities, thoughts, and relationships change over time. Your plan should be updated to adjust for these changes.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Whether you are seeking to update your own Pocatello Estate Plan or are in need of these documents for a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems.

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