Creating your estate plan involves many personal decisions that should not be taken lightly. After all, determining who would be a trustworthy person to be your estate trustee, the guardian of your children or a power of attorney agent is not always an obvious choice. In addition, the distribution of your assets can be an emotional and delicate matter.
You may feel a sense of accomplishment after completing your estate plan. However, it’s important to remember that estate planning is not a one-and-done endeavor.
The documents in an estate plan are not static any more than your life is static. Just as life events may alter the makeup of your family or change your opinions, your estate plan should reflect those changes in order to remain effective and avoid conflict after death. To keep your estate plan relevant, it is wise to update it after these or similar events:
- The death of a spouse or other heir
- Changes in your assets, such as a bankruptcy, inheritance or other windfall
- Marriage, divorce or remarriage
- The birth or adoption of a child
- The serious illness or death of a trustee or power of attorney
- The sale or purchase of property, especially in another province or another country
- Changes in Ontario laws related to taxes, succession or families
You may simply decide that your assets can do more good if you distribute them to charitable organizations. Or you may want your estate plan to allow you to make those contributions while you are still living. No matter the case, it is always a good idea to review your estate planning documents periodically to ensure they still reflect your wishes and best interests.