If you already have an estate plan in place, you should be proud of yourself. The next step is to review it to ensure it reflects your current situation and wishes. If you’ve been wondering when you should take that step, here’s what you need to know:
Why and when should you update it?
Generally, people review their estate plans to reflect major life changes. That means, for instance, you may want to review your estate plan if you’ve experienced any changes to your family dynamics. For example, if you’ve just gotten married, you may want to ensure that your estate plan includes your new spouse. Similarly, you may want to remove your ex-spouse from the document if you’ve just divorced them.
Secondly, if you have just had a child, or your new spouse has brought in kids from a previous relationship, you may want to include them as beneficiaries. Ultimately, your estate plan should include all your kids – whether adopted or biological.
Thirdly, it’s a great idea to review your estate planning documents if you’ve recently relocated to a different state to make sure it’s compliant with the current state laws. If you’ve not moved, remember that tax laws may have changed in your state, and your estate plan should reflect that.
Is there a benchmark for the review?
It’s possible for your life to have little or no changes. To stay on the safe side, you can make it a habit to review the document after every five years. You should conduct this process with an attorney; they will help you assess your life, walk through your goals and assess whether your current estate plan reflects those goals sufficiently. With their help, you may find that you have to update some things that you wouldn’t otherwise consider on your own, such as the order of your trustees.
The process of reviewing your estate plan is quite simple. However, always remember that failing to do it in a timely manner can attract many issues, such as assets ending up in the wrong hands.