Those Illinois residents who took the time to ensure their loved ones are taken care of after their death probably put the documents away believing that they have done what they needed to do to achieve that goal. They probably created an estate plan that fit the circumstances of the time, and while that was a good step, the plan may not stand the test of time. Life rarely remains the same over the years, and an estate plan needs to change with it.
For example, having another child, gaining another grandchild or remarrying are circumstances under which an estate plan may require changes. Other instances such as divorce, an estranged relationship with a child and more may also mean making changes to the plan. These changes need to be made not only for the person who made the plan, but also for loved ones who will need to contend with it after death.
After working for years to acquire the assets that end up going to heirs and beneficiaries after death, it would be a shame for them not to end up where an Illinois resident wants them to go because of an outdated estate plan. For this reason, a review is in order anytime a major life event such as those listed above occurs. Having an estate plan could be seen as the final expression of love to surviving family members and friends. Taking care of it is essential.
When a review of an estate plan reveals the need for changes, the affected documents need to be changed carefully. If the documents are not properly changed, it could cause confusion and legal issues after death. Therefore, even though it may be technically possible to make changes without assistance, it would probably not be a good idea.