How often should I review my existing estate plan?

Estate plans work best when they are up to date. This means that creating your estate plan is only part of the estate planning process. You must also review your estate plan regularly to make sure that it still reflects your current wishes, abides by current laws and utilizes the most effective strategy for your current situation.

Many people choose to review their plan with a professional annually. This can help ensure that any necessary updates are made in a timely fashion, including updates that may be needed due to changes in estate planning laws. However, there are also a variety of life events that should trigger an immediate estate plan review.

Major life events usually signal the need to review

If you experience a significant change in your personal life you may need to review and update your estate plan. Fortunately, significant changes in your personal life often align with major life milestones, so the situations that warrant an estate plan review should be easy to identify.

Some examples of changes that require estate plan updates, include when:

  • You get married
  • A child is born
  • A child is adopted
  • You get divorced
  • A spouse or child dies
  • A child turns 18
  • A child gets married
  • A grandchild is born

A change in your financial situation also merits a review

It is also important to review your estate plan when your financial situation changes. While some fluctuation in your bank account is to be expected, changes that affect the value of your estate must be updated in your estate plan. Most often this will occur when you purchase or sell something valuable. This could include a house, vacation home, a business, collectible art, expensive jewelry or other property of value.

Life is always changing. As your life changes, so should your estate plan. By updating your estate plan often, you can help ensure you have the most effective plan possible to address your current estate planning goals.