An estate plan is a collection of legal documents that help organize your personal and financial affairs. Your estate planning documents may include trusts, wills, your Do-Not-Resuscitate order or other important items that help protect you and your beneficiaries.
After creating and implementing their estate plan, most people do not periodically review their estate plans. Failure to periodically review your estate plan after creating and implementing it is a bad idea and potential recipe for disaster because you likely will experience many changes in your life and those changes could impact your estate planning goals.
How often should you review your estate plan?
It is most important for you to review your estate plan when you know that something significant has changed in your life. For example, if you just got married, you may want to review your estate plan to make sure it protects your spouse. Similarly, if you just had children, you may want to set up guardianships or trust funds.
Even if nothing has changed in your life, you’ll still want to take some time to go over your estate plan every few years because things might have changed concerning one or more of the individuals to whom you have given critical roles in your estate plan. Since there is no set requirement on how often to review your estate, it’s a good idea to talk with your attorney about how often they’d recommend you review the documents to keep them appropriately updated.
If major laws change, your estate plan could be affected
Your estate plan could also be affected if any laws concerning estate taxes or estate planning change. You should also review your estate plan if you move to a different state because different states have different laws that apply.
Although there is no set frequency when you should review your estate plan, you shouldn’t create your estate plan and expect that you won’t ever need to touch it again. Think of your estate plan as a living group of documents that may need to grow and change as your life changes over time.
In order to keep your estate plan current and to minimize the risk that your estate plan won’t accomplish your goals, remember to periodically review it. Spending a few minutes of your time every few years to ensure your estate plan remains updated can protect your family and loved ones from unnecessary stress and outcomes.