One of the most common misconceptions about estate planning is that, once you create a will and trust, you’re essentially done, and can just put your estate planning documents in a safe somewhere. In reality, estate plans should be reviewed and revised regularly—especially when there are significant changes to your family life.
Remember that an estate plan encompasses your directions for how your physical assets will be distributed and how your loved ones will be cared for. Thus, as your financial or family situation changes, so should your estate plan.
Here are just a few of the events that warrant revision to your estate plan.
- Individuals named in your estate plan die.
- New people enter your family who you would like to name in the estate plan—e.g., new births, adoptions, etc.
- There is a divorce or marriage in your immediate family.
- You wish to make changes to guardianship or trustee status, for whatever reason.
- Children named in your estate reach the age of 18.
- Your estate sees either a substantial increase or substantial decrease in its value.
- You see the acquisition or disposition of a major asset.
In addition, time passing is sufficient reason to meet with an attorney to discuss potential changes to your estate plan. It’s recommended that you do this when you turn 70—particularly if you start to receive distributions from an IRA or other retirement account—and also that estate plans are reviewed regularly every five years or so.
The estate plan is a living, breathing, and evolving thing—not something you just set aside once it’s complete. To learn more about keeping your estate plan up to date, contact Singh Law Firm at your next convenience.