Your estate plan should change along with you

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Your Estate Plan Should Change Along With You

Forbes recently published an article discussing the four most common myths about estate planning. One of those myths is that it is not necessary to revise an estate plan after establishing it. This myth was listed at number four, but it should have been at the top of the list. It is not only one of the most common myths, but also one of the most dangerous.

In our busy lives, it is already a challenge to find the time to create a will. But it is just as important—if not more so—for individuals to revise their will as time passes.

Why is it so important to update an estate plan?

As the old saying goes, “change is the only constant in life.” Our relationships, needs, opinions and finances can change faster than we want them to. And there is no way to predict that change, whether it is positive or negative.

This constant change is exactly why it is so critical for individuals to update their estate plans. A plan that reflects someone’s wishes and needs today may not necessarily still apply after a year. We may not be able to predict the changes in our lives, but we can adjust our future plans to fit them.

So, when is an update necessary?

Of course, it is not essential for individuals to adjust their estate plan for any small changes that they might experience at a moment’s notice. There are certain times that usually require an update, such as:

  • A significant change in one’s finances or assets, such as purchasing real estate
  • Any change in the family dynamic, such as a divorce or a new birth in the family
  • A loved one experiences a debilitating injury or disability and requires a special needs trust
  • If there are changes in New Jersey estate planning laws
  • If someone wishes to add a document to their plan, such as an advance directive or powers of attorney

One’s estate plan is the legacy they leave behind after they are gone. And updating that plan regularly is how individuals can make their estate plan accurately reflect their wishes for their family.

If you have questions, it may be beneficial to speak with an estate planning attorney. An experienced legal professional can help individuals establish their estate plans and make any revisions they wish to ensure the plan meets their needs.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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