Once you make your estate plan, you can set it aside for a few years. But you cannot indefinitely leave it unchecked, sitting and aging without any updates. After all, your life does not stay the same year after year. Your estate plan needs to reflect your life in its most current form.
But how do you know when it is time to review your estate plan? Do you need to review the entire thing all at once? And do you need to update it every time you review it?
When to review your plan
Forbes discusses how to tackle reviewing your estate plan. First, experts suggest reviewing your plan once every three years minimum. They give this as a general rule of thumb, though the exact year can differ from person to person. This applies during periods of time in your life in which you experience no big changes.
But when big changes happen, you should review your estate plan. In particular, focus on changes to your finances and family structure. For example, you want to review your estate plan when:
- You lose a relative or beneficiary through divorce, death or estrangement
- You gain a relative or beneficiary through childbirth, divorce or marriage
- You fall into debt
- You come into a large inheritance
- You move to another state
What to prioritize in a review
You want your finances to reflect your most recent financial situation. This is important for the beneficiaries who will inherit your assets. Likewise, you want to ensure your beneficiaries are up to date. You do not want an estranged relative getting any share of your estate. You also do not want a new family member missing out on a portion of inheritance.
As Forbes mentioned, you do not need to review everything at once. Focus on things like your beneficiaries, will, trusts and power of attorney or health care proxy. You also only need to update it when you have changes to make. This can help streamline the process for you and make handling estate plan reviews easier.