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When To Revisit Financial Planning

When To Revisit Financial Planning

At the approach of New Year's Day, we make resolutions that often include financial planning, estate planning, and life management and organization. Beyond that annual occasion to revisit our estate and financial plans, there are several life milestones and events that trigger the need to review our goals, strategies, and objectives, typically with the assistance of a financial planner or trusts and estates attorney.

Marriage or Remarriage

The ownership of assets owned prior to marriage is distinguished from ownership of assets purchased or otherwise acquired during the marriage's tenure. Married couples should update their accounts, beneficiaries, wills, and estate plans, and should possibly consider preparing new instruments, if appropriate. Couples should also give serious consideration to coordinating their investment objectives, goals, and strategies, as well as making any needed changes to withholdings for income tax purposes. A couple may want to create a new household budget.


Some individuals may desire to execute upon their prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. It may also become necessary to make changes to accounts, beneficiaries, wills, and overall estate plans to remove gifts or devises to the former spouse. Former spouses may desire to review their investment goals, objectives, and strategies, withholdings for income tax purposes, and household budgets.

Birth of a Child

An individual or couple who are becoming parents will likely want to revisit their household budget to make accommodations for expense increases. Parents will want to make changes to their wills and any insurance policies to provide for the child's guardianship in the event of their death or incapacity, as well as the child's financial future. Parents will also likely review their tax plans to make adjustments to their deductions, withholdings, and other claims and figures. They may desire to use their employers' flexible savings plans for childcare, medical expenses, and the purchase of pharmaceutical supplies. It is also never too early with the rising costs of higher education for parents to establish college savings plans for their children.

Deterioration in Health

An individual facing a health crisis or other deterioration in health may want to enact a power of attorney to assist in financial and health care decision-making, as he or she becomes increasingly incapacitated and infirm. He or she may want to consider designating additional persons as authorized parties to financial accounts to perform functions in his or her stead. It is prudent to locate copies of key legal documents and to store them in safe and convenient places for the parties who will need to access them. It may become necessary to plan for at-home nursing care, nursing home or assisted living, hospice, or other types of health care. A person may want to explore the necessity for long-term health care insurance, if qualifications are met. There are also tools such as reverse mortgages that might facilitate financial goals and pay for increasing health care costs.