Your estate plan reflects your wishes and goals for how you want your assets to be distributed, who you want to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated and how you want to be cared for in case of a medical emergency. These wishes and goals might change over time due to various factors. And, if you have an estate plan in Maryland, you are not done with planning for your future and your loved ones.
Changes in your financial situation and the law
You might acquire or sell property, start or close a business, inherit money or assets or face debts or lawsuits. These events affect the value and nature of your estate, as well as your tax liabilities and planning strategies. Federal and state laws that govern estate planning might change over time due to new legislation, court decisions or regulations. These changes might affect the validity and effectiveness of your existing estate plan documents and create new opportunities or challenges.
Marriage or divorce
If you get married or divorced, update your estate plan to reflect your new marital status and spouse’s rights. For example, revise your will or trust to include or exclude your spouse or former spouse, change your beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies, retirement accounts and update your power of attorney or health care directive to appoint or revoke your spouse or former spouse.
Birth, adoptions or deaths
If you have a new child or grandchild in your family, update your estate plan to provide for their future needs and protect their inheritance. For example, create or amend a trust to name them as beneficiaries and appoint a trustee and guardian for them, update your will to include them in your distribution scheme or disinherit them, if necessary, or change your beneficiary designations on accounts or policies to add or adjust shares.
If you lose a loved one who was part of your estate plan, update your estate plan to reflect their absence and avoid any potential complications. For example, revise your will or trust to remove them from your distribution scheme and name new beneficiaries or alternate beneficiaries, update your power of attorney or health care directive to appoint a new agent or successor agent or change your beneficiary designations on your accounts or policies to remove them and adjust the shares of the remaining beneficiaries.