Creating a customized estate plan that is tailored to the needs and goals of the estate planner is an important step to take. Equally important, yet sometimes overlooked, is the necessity to regularly update an estate plan to keep up with the changes in the estate planner’s life.
When to update an estate plan
There are several key moments in an estate planner’s life that should cause them to consider updating their estate plan. Estate planners should be familiar with when those times are.
- If the estate planner relocates to another state: Estate planners should be aware that laws concerning their estate plan, such as requirements for a will to be valid, can vary by state so they should take a look at their estate plan after they have moved from one state to another to ensure their estate plan is compliant with the laws in their new state.
- The estate planner’s relationships change: Any time the estate planner has a change in relationship, such as a marriage, divorce, death or birth, they should consider updating their estate plan to account for those changes.
- The designations in the estate plan are outdated: If the designations in the estate planner’s estate plan, such as the executor, trustee or guardian, is no longer appropriate, the estate planner should revisit their estate plan to make those changes.
- The estate planner’s assets or liabilities change: If the estate planner’s assets or liabilities change, they should include those changes in the distribution of their property in their estate plan.
It is a good idea to regularly and routinely review an estate plan to ensure it is update-to-date with the estate planner’s needs and wishes but it is also a good idea to be familiar with certain times in the estate planner’s life when they should update their estate plan. The estate planning process provides tools to address each estate planner’s unique needs and concerns and estate planners should know how to use those estate planning tools to create an estate plan they are happy with.