Many people believe that developing a comprehensive estate plan is a one-and-done proposition. This is not the case as numerous elements of the estate plan require maintenance to account for changing relationships, both personal and professional, as well as significant life events.
Most financial planners agree that your estate planning documents should be reviewed every three to five years to both ensure compliance with new laws and regulations, as well as to update the items to include any significant life events. In general, there are three times you should discuss your estate plan with an experienced attorney:
- Relationships change: Generally, marriage, divorce, adoption, the birth of a child or the death of a loved one should signal an immediate revision to your estate plan. In addition, as friends and work partners fall in and out of favor, it might be wise to adjust who you’ve named as the guardian for your minor children or who has power of attorney to make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
- Your assets or liabilities change: If the value of your estate changes significantly, it is wise to ensure your future plan correctly reflects it. Selling an asset, buying a home or starting a business should all trigger revisions.
- You moved to another state: It might be wise to ensure your estate plan is compliant with any of your new state’s laws. There can be certain nuances such as a spouse inheriting a minimum share of the estate that you need to investigate.
Whether you face significant life changes or you have revisions to make to your will, it is important to avoid procrastination. Discuss your situation with a skilled estate planning lawyer who can provide the answers and guidance you need.