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By Jason Carrozza

Hi Everyone,

Happy Wednesday! We hope everybody had a Happy Thanksgiving! As people visited with their families this week, I’m sure there was quite a bit of reminiscing. Times change and with that so does the family. Routinely, we are asked how often an estate plan should be updated. Typically, 3-5 years tends to keep you up to date with family dynamics as well as legal and tax changes. However, there are some events that trigger a review even earlier.

Here are the six life events that trigger an estate plan review:

  1. Death: Reviewing your estate plan is always necessary upon the death of a family member, especially the death of a spouse. This also applies to the death of any beneficiary or anybody that you may have named as a Trustee, Personal Representative, Guardian, or other fiduciary.
  2. Birth: Although most plans will allow you to incorporate future born or adopted children, it is always best to incorporate any new child by name.
  3. Marriage: Your own marriage certainly warrants an estate plan update, however, the marriage of any beneficiary is especially important. You’ll want to be sure that your plan provides for exactly whom you wish and that your beneficiary doesn’t end up unintentionally splitting any inheritance that you’ve left for them.
  4. Divorce: Once your divorce is finalized you will want to be sure that you update all of your beneficiary and fiduciary information. It’s imperative to select new people to fulfill various roles and responsibilities in your estate plan and you do not want to unintentionally leave behind money to an ex-spouse.
  5. Moving: Estate planning is based upon state law. Therefore, you’re going to want to speak with an estate planning attorney in any new state that you move to so that your plan meets your new state’s statutory requirements.
  6. Assets: Any type of new asset acquisition – substantial pay increase, inheritance, or settlement will always trigger a need to update your financial as well as legal plan.

Your estate plan is a living breathing document that is supposed to change along with your family. Do not think that you can simply place your estate plan in a drawer and never look at it again. If it has been some time since your last estate planning review please be sure to contact us. We’ll make sure that your plan is the right fit for you.

About the Author
Jason M. Carrozza is a partner and founder of Family Legal Partners, P.C., previously owning Carrozza Law Office, P.C., which focused on estate planning, probate administration, and business formation. He was recognized as a Massachusetts Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers and Boston Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016, an honor given to no more than 5% of attorneys in the state. Graduating magna cum laude from New England Law and ranked 3rd in his class, Jason completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He gained experience in civil litigation, divorce, corporate, and insurance defense law firms before opening his practice in 2004. Jason is admitted to practice before the Massachusetts Courts, is a trained family law mediator, and a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. He has volunteered for pro bono panels with Senior Partners For Justice, South Middlesex Legal Services, and the New Center for Legal Advocacy. Dedicated to his community, he has served in various leadership roles including vice president of the Bellingham Business Association and Master of Excelsior Lodge of Massachusetts Freemasons. He teaches Estate Planning Basics at the Tri County Continuing Adult Education program and speaks at estate planning seminars throughout the year. An avid baseball fan and history enthusiast, Jason enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Zachary and Madelyn.