Life is full of surprises. Whether it’s a new addition to the family, an unexpected career change, or a significant change in health, your circumstances can shift in a moment’s notice. Many of our clients at Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A. in Florida wonder, “Can I change my estate plan if my circumstances change?” The short answer is “yes”, you absolutely can—and should—update your estate plan to reflect your current situation.
Why Update Your Florida Estate Plan?
There’s a common misconception that an estate plan is a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. While it’s comforting to know you’ve set up a plan, life changes and your estate plan should be flexible enough to change with you. For example, if you divorce or remarry, you’ll want to update your beneficiaries. Likewise, a change in the size of your estate, either due to an inheritance or a new business venture, may require adjustments to minimize tax implications or avoid probate.
When Should You Revisit Your Estate Plan in Florida?
It’s a good practice to review your estate plan every few years, or whenever a significant life event occurs. These events can include marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or a big financial change such as a windfall or a bankruptcy. If something happens that affects your relationships or your assets, it’s time to revisit your plan. We always tell our clients that an outdated estate plan can sometimes be worse than having no plan at all.
What Can Be Updated in Your Estate Plan?
Almost everything in your estate plan can be updated to match your evolving needs and circumstances. This includes crucial elements like your will, trust agreements, powers of attorney, and health care directives. If you initially set up a basic will but now find that a more complex trust is better suited for your situation—perhaps due to an expanded estate or more complex family dynamics—that change can be made. Similarly, if you’ve named a guardian for your children but have had a change of heart about who that should be, updating this is entirely possible.
In addition, beneficiary designations for assets like life insurance policies and retirement accounts can be updated to reflect your current wishes. Remember, changes in tax laws could also influence how you distribute your assets. If you’ve moved to Florida from another state, your estate plan may require revisions to comply with Florida’s specific legal requirements. The ability to update your estate plan provides peace of mind that your wishes will be honored, no matter how your life may change.
Legal Steps for Changing Your Florida Estate Plan
Updating your estate plan isn’t something to be done hastily. We work with you to evaluate the best course of action, then go about the formal process of making changes, which may involve revoking old documents and creating new ones. Rest assured that with our guidance, your updated estate plan will align closely with your new life circumstances while maintaining its legal efficacy.
How We Help Update Your Estate Plan in Florida
Making changes to an estate plan is not a DIY project. It involves a nuanced understanding of state laws and how different aspects of your estate plan work together. We help you understand the consequences of each change, ensuring that your new plan is cohesive and comprehensive. We approach every estate plan as a living document. This means that we don’t just draft your initial documents and send you on your way; we aim for an ongoing relationship that allows us to help you adapt your plan as your life evolves. Our goal is to make the process as seamless as possible for you, so you can focus on living your life, knowing that your estate is in good hands.
Contact Us for Your Estate Plan Changes in Florida
We can offer you our knowledge of advanced directives and living wills gained from helping many others with the process. Call Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A. at (407) 909-1900 or contact us online for help if you need to arrange your advanced directive and living will in Florida.
Your life won’t stay the same, and neither should your estate plan. If you’re facing changes in your life and wonder how they impact your estate plan, we’re here to help. At Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A., we believe in building lasting relationships that allow us to serve you better as life’s inevitable changes occur.