When to update an estate plan

Previously, this blog has discussed the importance of an estate plan and knowing what to include in an estate plan. Equally important is knowing when to update an existing estate plan.

There are certain times in the life of an estate planner that they should update their estate plan. Estate planning vehicles including wills, trusts and other estate planning tools, need to be revisited periodically to ensure that they are meeting an estate planner's needs. In general, an estate planner should update an estate plan every three years. In addition, whenever the estate planner has a major life change, including a relationship change such as marriage or divorce, they should ensure they review their estate plan to determine if changes are warranted.

Another important time to review an estate plan is if the estate planner moves to another state. They should ensure their estate plan complies with the laws of the new state lest critical parts of their estate plan are deemed legally invalid. Additionally, an estate plan should be updated whenever the estate planner's assets or liabilities change or if a qualified retirement plan is out-of-date concerning beneficiary designations. Also, if an executor or trustee change needs to be made, then the estate plan should be updated to reflect those changes.

It is important that an estate plan reflects the wishes and desires of an estate planner. To best ensure this, the plan must be updated to reflect life's current situation. Those who fail to periodically review and update their plan can have their assets wind up in the wrong hand. This is why it is best to revisit these matters with the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney..