An older couple laughing and smiling while they review their estate plan with an attorney.

Should I Update My Estate Plan at the Beginning of the Year?

Making Changes Based on the Last Year

A lot can change over the course of a year, and those changes may mean other adjustments in your life need to be made to accommodate them. Your estate plan is no exception. When the new year arrives, it’s important to keep track of all the changes that have happened that may impact your estate plan and make adjustments to certain provisions in your plan to keep things up to date.

To help you, here are several changes that may have occurred over the last year that could impact your estate plan and give you cause to update it.

Changes in Marital Status

One of the most obvious areas of an estate plan that can be updated is your beneficiaries list. If you got married over the last year, whether this is your first marriage or you are remarrying after a divorce, you will want to update your estate plan to include your spouse as a beneficiary.

On the other hand, you may have gotten a divorce and had that finalized over the last year. If you are newly single, you may want to update your estate plan and remove your ex-spouse from your beneficiaries list.

Births and Deaths

Along a similar line, you may have had new family members born over the last year or have suffered losses in your family. Whether your family gained or lost someone over the last year, you should confirm your beneficiaries list to ensure that the right people are included so they can receive the assets you wish to pass down.

Change in Non-Familial Beneficiaries

Some people plan their estate in such a way that a non-profit organization or their alma mater receives assets upon their passing. Over the last year, you may have established a relationship with such an organization that you wish to do something like this, or perhaps you had a provision like this in your estate plan already but no longer wish to leave an institution money. Whatever the change, this should give you cause to update your estate plan.

Gained Assets

A lot can happen to your assets over the course of a year, and it is likely that you may have accumulated more items or assets that you would wish to pass down to another upon your passing. Updating your estate plan to include these assets is essential.

What If I Don’t Have an Estate Plan?

If you don’t have an estate plan already set up, one of your New Year’s resolutions should be to make one! No one is too young to have an estate plan in place, and many people get one because no one can predict tomorrow. If you have questions about estate planning, it’s important to consult with an attorney who can help you learn the answers to your questions or can help you get started.


At Burrows Law Group, our team can help you create an estate plan that serves your needs and protects your interests and the interests of your family. Get started with us by calling (972) 703-4004 or by visiting our website.

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