Making an estate plan is a great first step, but don’t forget that the estate plan can become outdated and inaccurate. It is very important to review it periodically so that you know that it actually reflects your true wishes. After all, you wouldn’t want an unexpected passing to leave your family with an estate plan that doesn’t really address their needs or give them the guidance that you were hoping for.
Some people will simply set up a schedule to periodically review the plan. For instance, they may decide that they are going to come back every 3 to 5 years and check over all of the details. It can be good to get in the habit of doing this because you at least know that your estate plan can’t be more than a few years out of date. There won’t be a situation where you pass away and your heirs have to use a will that you wrote 20 years ago.
Major life events
But the other way to approach estate planning updates is simply to look for major life events, and to do your updates at those times. For example, if you are a parent and you have a second child, you may want to update your will and estate plan to include both children. You can use the plan to do things like choose a guardian for them or set assets aside in a trust.
Other life events that you may want to watch for include things like getting married, getting divorced, the passing of an heir or beneficiary, the birth of a new heir – such as a grandchild – and much more. You may also want to consider updating the plan if your asset situation changes significantly, such as if you sell a family home that was previously listed in your will.
It’s important to get estate planning right, so make sure you know exactly what legal options you have.