Setting up an estate plan is an important part of life. It is equally important to know when, and in what circumstances, to update an estate plan.
A good rule of thumb is to revisit an estate plan whenever an estate planner has a major life change. If the estate planner moves to another state, they should take a look at their estate plan to ensure it complies with all the laws in their new state. Additionally, another important time to revisit an estate plan when the estate planner has a significant relationship change such as a divorce, marriage, birth or death. As an example, the birth of a new child should be included in the estate planner’s estate plan.
It is always important for the estate planner to also ensure their beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts are kept up-to-date. Likewise, if an executor appointment or trustee becomes inappropriate due to a change in the estate planner’s life or relationships, their estate plan should be updated to reflect those changes. Importantly, if the estate planner’s assets or liabilities change, they should update their estate plan to account for those changes, as one of the primary purposes of an estate plan is to distribute their assets.
Having a comprehensive estate plan that ensures the estate planner’s family is taken care of should be in place at all times. Estate planners, however, should not forget to update their estate plan as they go to ensure it reflect their current wishes and takes care of their changing needs over time.