How do you know if it’s time to update an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2023 | Estate Planning

A testator can make an estate plan in anticipation of their passing. An estate plan allows the testator to instruct how their assets are handled. Estate planning is a long and complicated process that people are often glad to get out of the way. 

The process doesn’t exactly end once the testator signs all the paperwork. Estate planning is a lifelong process. In other words, the testator can (and should) consider updating their estate plan in the future. Here’s what you should consider:

When was the last time changes were made to an estate plan?

People typically go many years without updating their estate plans, but it’s recommended that estate plans be updated every three to five years. This can help ensure that any new assets accumulated during the testator’s life are accounted for in the estate plan. 

Were you recently married or divorced?

An estate plan can be updated for many other reasons. A common reason people update their estate plans is because they recently were married. A testator may wish to name their spouse as a beneficiary, power of attorney or child guardian. Conversely, these changes may be reversed if the testator recently went through a divorce.

Did you recently have a child or grandchild?

A child can change a lot in people’s lives. A parent may plan for a child’s future by altering their estate plan. An estate plan could include a trust to help ensure assets are reserved for the grantor’s children’s higher education, for example.

Are you still living in the same state?

Another reason why an estate plan is updated is because the testator moved to another state. Each state has unique estate planning laws. If an estate plan isn’t updated to reflect these laws, then it could create issues for beneficiaries. 

Updating an estate plan shouldn’t be difficult. Testators may need to consider reaching out for legal help as they explore their options.