An estate plan isn’t an immutable document that is created, then stashed away unchanged — perhaps for years or even decades — until your death. It needs to be periodically updated as circumstances warrant, especially if your life changes, either in anticipated or unexpected ways.
Why is this so important? You want to make sure that people dear to you are provided for financially. Your wishes about this matter may not necessarily remain the same as they were when your estate plan was originally created. In addition, you should make clear who is going to get items that are sentimentally and/or monetarily valuable to you and your family.
Your decisions and choices regarding such key issues can change drastically over time, especially if you have experienced a major life event like getting married or having a child.
Reviewing and updating your estate plan may not necessarily be a quick and easy task. Your estate plan may include several detailed documents, such as power of attorney, a will and your living will. There might be complex financial documents to be considered as well, particularly if you own a business. Life insurance policies and retirement plans can figure into the picture also.
Keeping your estate plan current
You should make a point of reviewing and updating your estate plan at three-to-five year intervals, or when you have milestone events in your life. Appropriate times to do this are when you:
- Get married or divorced
- Add a baby to the family
- Reconsider your choice of a guardian for your children if you die
- Decide to rethink your beneficiaries
- Need to make your estate plan align with applicable tax laws
- Purchase or sell property
Making sure you estate plan is current is crucial if you want to have your final wishes adhered to after you are gone. A qualified attorney in California who is knowledgeable about estate planning can help you sort everything out so it is done correctly.