How Often Should Estate Planning Documents Be Updated?

How Often Should Estate Planning Documents Be Updated?

Estate Planning

Most people with an estate plan forget that these important documents should be reviewed periodically. Updating estate planning documents is essential to ensuring that your family or heirs are taken care of and that your last wishes are executed as desired.

As a general rule, an estate plan should be reviewed at least every three to five years to make sure it still reflects your personal and financial situation, wishes, and the current tax laws. However, it is good practice to update your estate plan more frequently if there are major life changes or changes in the law.

Some of these changes can include:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • A child reaches adulthood
  • New additions to your family such as children or grandchildren
  • Death of a spouse or child
  • Failing health
  • A significant increase or decrease in assets
  • Move to another state or country
  • A guardian, executor, or trustee is no longer able to serve
  • Changes to one’s power of attorney
  • A change to one’s beneficiaries or how assets will be distributed

Keep in mind that if notable life changes occur and you fail to update your existing estate plan, it could potentially cause problems for your family after you pass away.  For example, assets could get distributed to beneficiaries who you no longer want to inherit, latter-born children or grandchildren are inadvertently omitted from your estate plan, or the appointed executor is no longer able or available to serve in that capacity.

Changes in tax laws are also an important indicator that you may need to update your estate plan. Thus, regularly reviewing these laws with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you assess whether updates or changes need to be made to an estate plan to accomplish tax savings goals.

If you have questions about updating your estate planning documents or need assistance in creating one, contact us by calling 856.782.8450 or visiting our website at www.timriceelderlaw.com. We’ll be glad to answer your questions and address your needs.

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