One common question we hear from our clients is: When should I update my estate plan? There are many potential situations when updating an estate plan may be appropriate, including both 1. Changes in the law and 2. Changes in your life situation or desires with regards to your estate.
Here are a few of the most common scenarios that may necessitate reviewing your estate plan:
I. CHANGES IN FAMILY RELATIONS:
- You got divorced.
- Your spouse passed away.
- You were single when you created your estate plan and you got married.
- Changes regarding children, grandchildren, or other beneficiaries. (Think birth or adoption of a child, severe illness or divorce of a child, or financial irresponsibility of a child.)
II. CHANGES IN ECONOMIC CONDITIONS:
- Your estate value increased or deceased significantly.
- You retired or changed your employment status.
- You acquired property in another state.
- Your business interests changed (for example: a new partnership or corporation).
III. EXTERNAL CHANGES:
- Changes occurred in State or Federal income tax law, estate tax law, gift law, property law, trust law, or probate law.
- You moved to a new state.
- Your successor trustee/executor, guardian, agent, or beneficiary passed away.
How often should you review your estate plan? As a rough guideline, it is a good idea to have your estate plan reviewed approximately every 5 years by a qualified estate planning attorney. Think of it like a periodic tune up for your vehicle. As with a vehicle, you may not know that something is wrong until it’s too late.
Be sure to always seek the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney when making changes to your estate plan.