retro black baby carriage against a white door. this image is being used to convey that things like having a new baby can change your estate plan and that you need to update it by working with ogborne law, phoenix estate planning attorney.
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

10 Events that Impact Your Estate Plan

Life is full of changes and you need an estate plan that fits your lifestyle.

Marriage, birth, death, and illness quickly change your financial and healthcare situation.

Give yourself and your family peace of mind by taking time each year to review and update accounts and beneficiaries. Then you can rest easy that you, your family, and your wishes will be taken care of should you die or become incapacitated.

Not sure where to start? Here are life events that impact your estate plan.


Congratulations! Now that the wedding bells have stopped, it’s time to update your estate plan to include your new spouse and remove anyone who you may not want like an ex-spouse or ex-significant other.

Marriage + blended family

In addition to adding your spouse when you get married, make sure your plan names custodians for underage children and disabled adult children. You may also want to be detailed about who gets your assets in the event of your death. A second spouse may see things differently than your children from a first marriage so make your wishes known in writing.

Divorce or death of spouse

Along with updating your estate plan, be sure to update beneficiaries on all bank and investment accounts. In Arizona, the named beneficiary trumps the will in terms of who receives the assets. You might not want an ex-spouse to get your investment account in the event of your death.

Birth or adoption of a child

Appoint proper guardians and make inheritance provisions for your new child. If you have a living trust, you can name the ages and circumstances in which children inherit assets. Without it, they may inherit as soon as they turn 18 years old.

Death or disability of a guardian for children

You’ve named a friend or relative to take care of your children in the event of your death but what happens if they die before you? Your children’s welfare is at the mercy of the court and subject to a custody battle.

Acquisition of substantial wealth or assets

Whether earned or inherited, a substantial change to wealth or assets should be discussed with your estate planning attorney to be sure you’re getting the greatest tax and inheritance benefits and name proper beneficiaries.

Moving to a new state or changes to state laws where you live

Don’t assume your existing will and estate plan is valid in every state. The law is constantly changing whether it’s state or federal law, you need to be sure your estate plan is in compliance.

Before you’re incapacitated

A living will is part of an estate plan and includes your wishes should you become incapacitated. You will also name a healthcare power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf. Discuss your wishes with the person you name. While not required by law, it will help you rest easier knowing they understand and will comply with your wishes.

Career changes

Changes such as a new job, promotion, or if you start or close a business. Make sure you and your family are protected as life changes especially if your income has changed.

New bank or investment accounts

Every asset you have should be reviewed by your estate planning attorney and changes made to your plan as needed or required by law. Without this, your assets may be subject to probate court.

Make sure you, your family, and assets are taken care of according to your wishes when you have an updated estate plan.

Life is complicated but your estate plan doesn’t need to be.

If these (or other) life events have happened to you since last reviewing your estate plan, call Ogborne Law.

We will work with you, your spouse, and family to be sure your plan is in compliance with current laws and, more importantly, is aligned with what you want to happen.