Creating an estate plan is a big step forward. Not only does it protect your estate and loved ones upon your death, but it can benefit you and your family in many ways while you’re alive.

While creating your first estate plan is an accomplishment in its own right, there’s something you need to know: There is likely to come a time when you need to update your estate plan.

Here are some situations in which you should give this strong consideration:

  • The passage of time: As the years go by, don’t hesitate to review your estate plan to ensure that everything still checks out. You may find that the estate plan you once trusted no longer suits you, your family, your financial circumstances and your long-term goals.
  • An addition to your family: If you give birth to a child or adopt a child, it’s likely to call for changes to your estate plan. You should immediately name a guardian for your child, while also considering if you should add them as a beneficiary. Also, if you bring a new pet into your home, a pet trust is something to look into.
  • Marriage or divorce: Both of these are big changes in your life. If you tie the knot, you should talk to your spouse about your estate plan and consider the changes you can make to ensure that it suits the two of you. In the event of divorce, you probably want to remove all mentions of your ex-spouse in your estate plan.
  • The death of someone named in your estate plan: Maybe your spouse, who was in line to receive all your assets, has passed on. Or maybe your executor passed on unexpectedly. If someone close to you dies, review your estate plan to determine if you need to make changes.

While these are among the most common times to review and update your estate plan, don’t stop there. If you have any reason to believe a change would do you good, take immediate action. Doing so will give you peace of mind, both now and in the future.