You might think you’re covered because you created an estate plan many years ago. Even though you might have recognized the key importance of estate planning, you didn’t do the necessary steps to keep your estate plan updated over time. Unfortunately, there are many different reasons why your estate plan might become invalid or no longer accurate.

Failing to neglect your plans over time to reflect changes in your wishes, the law or family circumstances can be catastrophic for you individually as it relates to tools like a power of attorney, or beneficiary designations, or for your loved ones after you’re no longer around. One common change in family circumstances that most people overlook in terms of updating their estate plan, is a divorce.

If an existing revocable trust or will is not updated after a divorce, your former spouse is legally entitled to inherit assets if this is what those documents prescribed in the past.

If the ex-spouse has remarried in the future, that individual’s assets could end up passing to the new spouse and his or her children, completely disinheriting the former spouse’s own children and family. In order to avoid consequences like the ones described here, it is important to ensure that estate plans are updated any time you have a change in wishes but also changes within your individual family structure.

A consultation with a Pasadena estate planning lawyer to help can help you to avoid these mistakes and help you to articulate an estate plan that evolves over time, reflecting the unique needs of you and your family. You can avoid many of the most common pitfalls associated with California estate planning mistakes by consulting early and often with a lawyer.

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