You should update your estate plan every 3-5 years on average. This should take place sooner if you experience significant life-changing events such as:
- Marriage: If you marry someone, this is invariably going to affect your estate plan. A marriage is one of the most important life events, and you want to make sure your spouse is properly accounted for according to your wishes.
- Divorce: Like marriage, this is one of the most significant life events, albeit a more unpleasant one. You want to make sure you adjust your plan so that your ex does not end up receiving more than you intended
- Bearing children: If you have more children or even if you end up welcoming stepchildren into your life, you you may want to set up trusts or other arrangements to make sure they are provided for.
- Dealing with family deaths: If a family member dies before your estate plan would kick in, then you should revisit your plan and remove the deceased person.
- Acquiring significant property: If you buy a house, inherit property, or encounter some kind of windfall, then you would want to add this to your plan, deciding who it would go to.
- Starting or dissolving a business: Your estate plan should specify what happens to the business if you are unable to make business decisions, are incapacitated, or die. This can avoid a lot of chaos down the line.
- Moving between states: Anytime you move, chances are high that your assets and financial arrangements may change or shift. In addition different treatment of assets in different states can complicate matters. It is best to speak with an attorney if you move to a different state or acquire property in other states.
These are just some of the most common reasons to more frequently revisit your estate plan. If you maintain regular communication with your estate planning attorney, he will alert you when you should sit down and look at it again.
Today’s Answer was provided by Don L. Rosenberg, Attorney and Counselor, with Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras & Mayoras, P.C. in Troy, Michigan.