How Often Should Your Estate Plan be Reviewed?
You have a completed estate plan. Many people put it away and never think of it again. They believe that they are all set – for life. That’s really not true.
Life changes and so do our needs. An estate plan completed when you have minor children is not the same one you will need when they are in their 30’s and you are in a retirement mode. So, how often should you review your documents?
First, all reviews do not need to be conducted by an attorney. These are your documents and you know what your needs are. I recommend reviewing the documents every one to two years. Pull out the documents and re-read them. Are all of the facts contained in the documents correct? Are the choices that you made still the ones that you want? Are the individuals that you have named as agents still available?
If the documents are still accurate and what you want, fold them up and put them back. You are all set. If however, things have changed, it is time to make an appointment with your attorney to change the provisions that require updating. This does not mean that you will need all new documents. Often simple amendments are possible to change distribution provisions or agents.
As time goes on, it is wise to schedule a review of your documents at least every five years with your attorney. Laws change which may affect your documents. Additionally, your personal circumstances may have changed in a way that an amendment is required.
Other times, there will be triggering events that will lead to changes.
- The death of a spouse
- The death of a child
- The marriage of a child and/or the birth of a grandchild
- The death or disability of one of the agents that you have named
- A large change in your finances such as an inheritance
- The acquisition of multiple parcels of property
In any of these circumstances, it is wise to make an appointment with your attorney to address these issues and make certain that your documents are up to date. Then you can once again, put the documents away and be certain that you are well prepared.