Although there are no set rules or requirements about when to review your estate plan, it is important to understand that estate planning is a lifelong process. Poole Brooke Plumlee PC offers the following recommendations:
You should review your estate plan immediately after a major life event, such as marriage, divorce, re-marriage when you have children born of your prior marriage, birth of a child, death of a person named in your Will, or a move to a different state.
Additionally, your estate plan should be reviewed if you acquire significant wealth that bumps you to a new income tax bracket or when there are changes in the economy or tax code that may impact your current plan.
There may be other occasions when you will need to update your estate plan, such as a decision to change the Executor, Trustee or Guardian that you have named in your documents. Such a change may be initiated due to a change in the relationship that you have with that person, or because that person advises you that he no longer wants or is able to serve in those capacities.
Other reasons to consider a periodic review:
- Birth of a grandchild for whom you may want to provide future tuition assistance in the form of an educational trust
- A beneficiary whom you have named in your estate plan has become disabled, incapacitated or has died.
- Divorce of a child or grandchild
- Buying real estate in a state in which you do not live
Any one of these life changes will likely have a direct impact on your estate plan. Even if you have not experienced any such changes, a good rule of thumb is to have your estate plan reviewed every five (5) years.
For these reasons, we recommend that you make it a point to review your estate plan periodically to ensure that it will work the way you expect it to work when it is ultimately needed.