Once you have checked estate planning off your to-do list, you may think it is a task that is complete forever. While this would be very convenient, the fact is that estate plans need checkups and revisions from time to time. How often should an estate plan be revised?
Estate planning is an important ongoing task, no matter how mundane or monumental it may seem. Estate planning ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes once you are no longer around to see it through. Estate planning also creates a roadmap for the handling of your financial affairs and healthcare should you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself. Because these decisions are so important, it’s equally critical to revisit your estate plan on a regular basis. Doing so provides an opportunity to revise your plan so that it continues to reflect your current wishes and circumstances.
So, how often should you revise your estate plan? The answer depends on a variety of factors; the answer will not be the same for everyone. Here is a list of some factors that may require revisions to your estate plan:
- Life changes. Major life changes, such as marriage, divorce or having children likely trigger a need to update your estate plan. Beneficiaries may change, agents under powers of attorney may change and general desires may change as well.
- Financial changes. If you have had a significant change in your financial situation, be it a promotion, large inheritance or a winning lottery ticket (we can all dream!), now is a great time to revise your estate plan. You may want to update beneficiaries or designate adjusted amounts for your heirs to receive.
- Family changes. If a child has come into your life, a loved one has passed away or a relationship has changed, you may need to update your estate plan to reflect your current situation. A new child may push others down the inheritance line, while a death in the family may move other loved ones up.
- Legal changes. While estate plans are designed to cover lots of contingencies, estate planning laws can change over time. If you have not reviewed your estate plan in a long time, it is a good idea to meet with a lawyer to ensure that all your prior decisions are still sound under the current laws and regulations.
But what if you have not had any major life changes? Can you forget about your estate plan until such an occurrence? Even if you do not anticipate any revisions, it is still a good idea to revisit your plan every few years.
Revisiting and revising your estate plan on a regular basis, or after major life changes, is important to be sure that your wishes and desires will be respected after you pass away. If you need an extra set of eyes to look over your estate plan to ensure its effectiveness, the estate planning attorneys at Brown Law Firm are just a phone call away. To schedule a review, call (303) 339-3750.