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This is the time to update your estate plan

California intestacy law dictates how assets held in your estate are allocated if you die without a will or a trust. State law may also take effect if your will or trust is found to be invalid for any reason. Therefore, it’s important to review and update your estate plan on a regular basis to avoid issues that might make it harder to carry out your final wishes.

Your family changes

After you get married, you’ll want to add your spouse as a beneficiary to assets such as a bank account, retirement account or life insurance policy. After having a child, you’ll need to add that child to your will or trust to ensure that specific assets can be transferred to your offspring upon your death. If you have a trust, assets can be distributed to beneficiaries if you become incapacitated or at any other point prior to your death.

Your executor dies

If your executor dies, you have the right to appoint someone else to fulfill this position. In the event that you fail to take this estate planning step, a judge would likely name an administrator on your estate’s behalf during probate. You can add alternate executors to your will to ensure that someone is always available to represent your interests after you pass away. If you have a trust, you can name alternate trustees who can manage its assets in the event something happens to the current manager.

Reviewing and updating your estate plan in a timely manner may prevent beneficiaries from getting less than they expected. It may also help to prevent problems that may cause permanent conflicts between family members or that otherwise make it harder to settle your affairs.