After creating your estate plan, you may have let it sit for a while. You might think you have no need to review it soon – or at all. Life happens, though, and failing to account for changes could cause problems down the road. Barring any major events, you will want to update your estate plan once every three to five years. Yet, certain occasions will warrant its revision sooner.
The objects of your affection might have changed since you created your estate plan. You may have married, remarried or divorced during this time. To ensure the proper person receives your assets – or no longer receives them – you must make the necessary revisions to direct them to the right place. You will also need to do so if a birth, death or strained relationship requires you to add, remove or disinherit a beneficiary. If any of your beneficiaries have experienced changes in circumstance, such as disability, you will want to account for these as well
Major changes to your financial situation also warrant updates to your estate plan. If you acquired or lost significant property recently, you will want to adjust your plan to reflect these events. You may have started a business, too, or have plans to start one. Not only will you need to include it in your estate, you will want to start succession planning, which will allow you to prepare a qualified relative or associate to take over your business once you retire or pass. And if you move states, you must revise your estate plan in compliance with its tax laws.
Updating your estate plan may seem like a lot of work. Yet, it takes little more than diligence and knowing which documents you need to draft or amend. Consulting an attorney can help clarify any questions or concerns you have about the process.