Many Massachusetts residents delay the important task of estate planning for years longer than they know they should. However, when they finally get an estate plan drafted, executed and finished, it can be a great relief. But, those individuals who have taken the important step of setting up an estate plan should remember that they shouldn’t just sign it and forget it. For most people, estate plans need to be updated from time to time.

A recent news article pointed to a few different situations that can occur in a person’s life that may necessitate an update to an estate plan. As the article notes, probably the most common situation necessitating an update to an estate plan is the impending birth of a child. Many people will update an estate plan to include a trust for the child, and most will also name a guardian of choice for the minor child in the event that some tragedy strikes the parent.

Another incredibly common life-altering situation is a divorce. In post-divorce life, one of the first steps should probably be to update your estate plan, especially since many people name their spouse as the primary beneficiary in their estate plans. If you are divorced from that person now, you likely want to choose another beneficiary.

Lastly, another unfortunate but common scenario is when a chosen beneficiary named in your estate plan dies. In such a scenario, you will probably need to update your estate plan to designate other beneficiaries to receive your assets.