Tips for Keeping Your Estate Plan Updated

How Often Should You Review Your Estate Plan?

Creating an estate plan is critical when preparing for your future and protecting your property and assets. While drafting these documents may seem like a one-time activity, it isn’t a one-and-done process. You will need to update your estate plan periodically, usually during key milestone events. So, you should review your estate plan once every five years if you haven’t had any significant lifestyle changes.

Why You Need to Update Your Estate Plan

An estate plan will need occasional tweaking to align with changes in your life, for example, if you have beneficiaries who pass away or need to be replaced for some other reason. Key individuals who help ensure your estate plan is actionable, like your executor, trustee, or POA (power of attorney), may change over time, and you will need to ensure you update your documents accordingly. Well drafted and executed estate plan will ensure your final wishes are communicated and implemented. Your estate plan may not work as intended if you don’t keep your document currents and actionable.

Qualifying events aren’t a requirement, but many people change or update their estate plan for the following reasons:

  • Sold a major asset included in the document
  • A change in marital status
  • A significant economic loss
  • Retirement
  • Laws have changed that affect your plan
  • To add beneficiaries

Reviewing and Updating Your Estate Plan

When it comes to reviewing and changing your estate plan, how often it will need to be updated depends on your age and financial portfolio. While many people wait for milestone events before reviewing their estate plan, you can set time benchmarks instead. If you don’t want to marry or have children, you can set other milestones, like age or year markers. Updates and reviews should include an estate planning attorney who can help assess your current needs and align your plan with any financial goals you may have.

Common Reasons to Update an Estate Plan

  • Marriages or Divorce: If your relationship status changes, for example, if you are married or divorced, you need to revisit your estate plan to review beneficiaries and make changes as required. Marriage and divorce usually cause plan changes because divorcing couples typically remove their previous partners from their plans.
  • Births and Deaths: When children are born or adopted, you will need to change any estate plans to reflect these new additions to your family. Similarly, deaths in the family may also require changes to your estate plan to reflect persons who have passed away.
  • Beneficiary Changes: Marriage, divorce, birth, and death aren’t the only reasons to change our estate plan. You may change your mind and decide to eliminate or add beneficiaries to your estate plan. It can be challenging to ensure you meet the goals of your estate plan without a thorough review of the beneficiaries included in your retirement accounts, insurance policies, and other financial instruments. When your beneficiaries don’t align with your estate plan, it can create confusion and negatively impact your final preparations.

Sit Down with One of Our Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorneys Today!

At Drexler Law, we understand the complexities of creating an estate plan. Our estate planning attorneys have over 100 years of collective experience working with families just like yours to accomplish their final preparations. Whether you need to draft a new document or make changes to an existing plan, our knowledgeable attorneys can advise and provide guidance that fits your needs. Updating your estate plan doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. If it’s been several years since your last plan was drafted, a consultation with our team is the perfect place to begin the process. Contact our estate planning attorneys today at (719) 259-0050, or submit an online contact form here to get started.