Certain life changes, such as a divorce or the birth of a child, can prompt a change in a person’s estate plan. Despite this, people in Ohio and other parts of the country frequently fail to update their estate plan for these and other types of life changes.

Sometimes, the change is not in a person’s life but in the law. Raising the estate tax exemption and legalizing same-sex marriage are just two examples of the type of legislation that can signal the need for a different estate planning strategy. In some cases, the changes are not very high profile. Congress has passed laws in recent years that have changed how inherited IRAs and business succession work. As a result, people may want to periodically review the estate plan with an attorney who can indicate any legislation that could be a reason to revise.

Changes in the lives of others could trigger a revised estate plan as well. For example, if an adult child is marrying someone a parent does not approve of, the parent may want to create a trust to protect that child’s assets in case of divorce. The same may be necessary for a beneficiary who has problems with creditors or addiction. A number of other changes may also necessitate a review of the estate plan, including the death of an executor, a change in assets and more.

Working with an attorney can help ensure that these changes are done correctly and are unambiguous. This may reduce the likelihood of family conflict after a person’s death. If family conflict is already an issue, people may want to consider how they might pass assets without going through probate. With a trust or other methods, such as a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, there is more privacy and less time and opportunity for challenges.