Law Office of Rhonda D. Zimmerman, Esq.
Law Office of Rhonda D. Zimmerman, Esq.

When to Review your Estate Plan: The 5 Ds

updating your estate plan

Help Updating your Estate Plan

Estate plans are not static and should be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that they still reflect your needs and those of your family. Certain types of life changes should also prompt an immediate review of your estate plan so that it can be modified to reflect your new circumstances. Below are some events that should prompt updating your estate plan from Fort Lauderdale estate planning attorney Rhonda D. Zimmerman, Esq.


Any time your marital status changes, you should consider meeting with your lawyer to update your estate plan. If you get married, divorced, or remarried, your estate plan should be modified to reflect those changes. If you are getting divorced, you should review all of your estate planning documents, including your will, trust, power of attorney, retirement account and life insurance beneficiaries, and others. Failing to update your estate plan when your marital status changes could result in some unintended consequences if you are incapacitated or unexpectedly pass away.


Whenever you have children, it is critical for you to review and update your estate plan. Updating your estate plan can help to ensure your minor children will be properly cared for if something unexpected happens to you or your partner. You can include a guardianship provision in your will to designate someone you trust to care for your children. Without this type of provision, someone else might petition for guardianship. Having a child should also prompt you to review your life insurance and update the beneficiaries on your various accounts.


People are vulnerable, and you could suffer an unexpected illness or an accident that might leave you with disabilities. If you have learned that you have a serious medical condition, or one of your children is disabled, you should review your estate plan and update it. It is also a good idea to have a durable power of attorney in place just in case you become incapacitated so that you can designate a trusted person to handle your affairs for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. You might also consider creating a special needs trust to benefit an adult child with special needs so that he or she can continue receiving state benefits while also having his or her needs taken care of by the trust.


If a loved one dies, you should take a look at your estate plan to determine if any changes need to be made. For example, if your deceased loved one was named as a beneficiary of your trust or will, you might need to make some adjustments. Similarly, if your deceased loved one was designated as your agent in your durable power of attorney or as your health care proxy, you will need to update those documents to give the authority to act to someone else. Another reason to review your estate plan after a loved one dies occurs if you received a large inheritance. In that type of situation, you will want to evaluate how to incorporate the inheritance into your estate plan and consider the potential tax implications it might have.


If you created your estate plan in a different state before relocating to Florida, you should have Fort Lauderdale estate planning attorney Rhonda D. Zimmerman review all of your estate planning documents. The laws vary from state to state, and you need to ensure that your estate plan complies with the laws in Florida. Similarly, if you named someone as your agent in your durable power of attorney who has moved across the country, you might want to consider designating an alternate agent. Similarly, executors or successor trustees who have been named in your will or trust might not be able to fulfill their duties if they have moved far away.

Talk to an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

If you have undergone any changes in your circumstances, you should speak to the experienced Fort Lauderdale estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Rhonda D. Zimmerman, Esq. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (954) 822-7566.

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