Once you are ready to build an estate plan, you’ll need to sit down with your attorney to go over your wishes. Finalizing your estate plan is an excellent feeling of a job well done, but the reality is that you never really finish planning.
Estate plans should be thought of as living documents. They may need to be updated as you age and your life’s circumstances change. If you have children, get married, go through a divorce, adopt, lose a loved one or go through other major changes in your life, then you may need to update your estate plan.
How often should you review your estate plan?
This is a common question that people ask their attorneys, and the answer is that there is no specific guide for how long to wait between reviews. However, it’s smart to review your estate plan every time you have a major change in your life. Some common times when you should review your estate plan are when:
· There is the birth of a new child, like a grandchild, niece, nephew, daughter or son
· You receive an inheritance or large sum of money
· You develop a new or worsening medical condition
· You lose a loved one who was in the previous estate plan as a beneficiary
· You get a divorce
· You get married
These are just a few of the major events that might trigger you to review your estate plan.
You can also talk to your attorney about contacting you if there are any significant changes in estate planning laws. For example, if estate tax limits are changed and may lead to taxes on your estate in the future, then you may want to review your options with your attorney to mitigate the risk.
Other than these times, you may want to review your estate plan annually or every few years at your leisure. If there are no major changes in law, your location or your life, then your plan may not need an update yet. Just keep it in the back of your mind in case something does come up that needs to be addressed.