Many people question when it’s appropriate to review their estate plans. Since people’s lives change often and sometimes in significant ways, it’s not a bad idea to review your estate plan on a regular schedule.
While there is no specific schedule to follow, many people do a cursory review of their estate plan every year or every other year. Some schedule a basic review every five or ten years but also do reviews during major changes in their lives.
Important moments when you may want to review your estate plan
There are a few times when it’s appropriate to review your estate plan and make changes, such as if:
- You have gotten married or divorce
- You have lost a loved one who was addressed in your estate plan or whose family you’d like to address in your estate plan
- You move to another state
- You have children or adopt children
- You take guardianship of a loved one
- You want to set up additional protections to begin Medicaid planning
- You are interested in setting up trusts
- You’re diagnosed with a terminal illness
- You’re diagnosed with a progressive illness
These and other major life changes are signs that you may want to review your estate plan.
Is it always necessary to review your estate plan to keep it valid?
Not necessarily, but if you don’t update your estate plan for a long time and become incapacitated or pass away, others may question your earlier-life decisions compared to what you may want now.
It’s also possible for laws and regulations to change, and those could influence your estate plan’s protections, too. After speaking with your attorney, you can ask for them to reach out to you if there are major changes in law that might affect your estate plan, so you can address them at that time.
These are a few things to consider when you’re not sure when to update your estate planning documents. Early planning with an eye on changes over the years can help you keep your estate plan as accurate as possible, so it protects you and your beneficiaries.