An estate plan needs to be updated over time. Ideally, people will make a plan long before their family needs to use it. They then have to make adjustments and updates as the years go by to ensure that it remains current.
One way to better ensure that documents remain current is to schedule updates for a set amount of time, such as three years. You can update your plan every time that deadline is reached.
But this approach could mean that the plan is slightly outdated if there have been changes within that three-year window. It’s better than ignoring the plan entirely after creating it – a mistake that many people make – but it could still cause some problems. Instead, it may be best to focus on important life events that require an update to the plan.
When should you make life-inspired updates?
To keep your plan updated properly as life unfolds, keep the following landmark events in mind:
- You suffer from an illness, an injury, a disability or some other type of ailment that must be addressed through a medical power of attorney or other estate planning documents.
- Your family expands because new children or new grandchildren are born, and they need to be added into the plan.
- Your marital relationship changes, either because you get divorced or because you get remarried – or married for the first time.
- There are significant financial changes in your life, such as selling a family home or a business.
- There is another death in the family that changes how assets are going to be distributed, perhaps, because that person was included in the estate plan and now needs to be removed.
These are just five of the reasons to make an update, and this is definitely not a complete list of all the events that may warrant an estate plan update. If you have concerns, keep in mind that you can seek legal guidance at any time.