Many people make the mistake of letting their estate plan sit after creating it. If they’re lucky, its provisions will remain intact until their passing. But this scenario is the exception, rather than the norm. Life happens, and as yours changes, you will want your estate plan to reflect it. You don’t have to update your plan for every small event. Yet, it’s important to know which ones make doing so worthwhile.
You may think that you can put off accounting for any major life changes in your estate plan. Yet, updating it right after these happen is crucial. If these events go unaccounted for, your plan may provide an outdated picture of your assets. Or, it may decree these assets pass to someone who you no longer want to have them – or who is no longer living. In either case, failing to update your plan could leave your beneficiaries confused and squabbling.
You will want to update your estate plan if:
- You get married, divorced or remarried
- You become a parent or grandparent
- Your children turn 18 and no longer need a guardian
- Your executor or a beneficiary passes away
- Your relationship with your executor or a beneficiary becomes strained
- You buy or sell assets of significant value
- You move states
Even when no major events happen in your life, you will still want to revisit your estate plan periodically. To make sure your plan is fresh, you will want to review it every three to five years. Doing so allows you to make sure that your intentions remain the same as when you drafted it.
By keeping your estate plan current, you will make disbursement easier for your beneficiaries once you pass. An attorney can help you review its terms and make any necessary changes.