When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Estate Planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Over the years, many factors may influence your Estate Plan, from changes in the law to changes in your life situation to changes in your desires with regards to your estate distribution.

One common question we hear from our clients is: When should I update my Estate Plan? Here are a few of the most common factors that may prompt a total review of your Estate Plan with an attorney:

I. CHANGES IN FAMILY RELATIONS

  • You got divorced.
  • Your spouse passed away.
  • You were single when you created your Estate Plan and you’ve since married.
  • Changes regarding children, grandchildren, or other beneficiaries. (Think birth or adoption of a child, severe illness or divorce of a child, or financial irresponsibility of a child.

II. CHANGES IN ECONOMIC CONDITIONS

  • Your estate value increased or deceased significantly.
  • You retired or changed your employment status.
  • You acquired property in another state.
  • Your business interests changed (for example a new partnership or corporation).

III. EXTERNAL CHANGES

  • Changes occurred in State or Federal income tax law, estate tax law, gift law, property law, trust law, or probate law.
  • You moved to a new state.
  • Your successor trustee/executor, guardian, agent, or beneficiary passed away.

REVIEW EVERY 5 YEARS

How often should you have your Estate Planning documents reviewed? A good rule of thumb is to have your Estate Plan reviewed every 5 years by an experienced Estate Planning attorney. Think of it like a periodic tune-up for your vehicle.  When it comes to your Estate Plan, you may not know that something is wrong until it’s too late.

Be sure to always seek the assistance of an experienced Estate Planning attorney when making changes to your estate plan. In this post, we discuss the dangers of DIY Estate Planning. We also made a helpful video on updating your Estate Plan. Click here to schedule a consultation with our firm to have your Estate Plan reviewed.

Daniel Hunt

Daniel Hunt is lead attorney and owner at Law Offices of Daniel Hunt. He is also a California State Bar Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts & Probate Law.