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Some people think that once they’ve written a will and implemented an estate plan, they can forget all about it. Of course, that’s not true; an estate plan must be reviewed periodically and updated, or it can become out-of-date and actually frustrate all your good intentions.
As a general rule, an estate plan should be reviewed at least every five years to make sure it still reflects your personal and financial situation, your wishes, and the current tax laws.
But sometimes it’s good to look at an estate plan more often. For instance, if your plan contains any provisions for saving taxes, and it hasn’t been reviewed since the enormous changes in the federal estate tax laws that occurred at the beginning of 2013, it would be a good idea to reconsider whether there are now much more advantageous ways of accomplishing your goals.
You should also have your estate plan reviewed whenever:
- You get married or divorced
- One of your children reaches adulthood
- Your spouse passes away
- You have a significant increase or decrease in your assets
- You move to another state
- A guardian, executor, or trustee is no longer able to serve
- You want to change your beneficiaries or how your assets will be distributed
- There’s any other major change in your life that affects your family or financial outlook.