Although there is no set time to review your estate plan, the new year is a good opportunity to reflect on any significant changes in your life during the past year to determine if your plan still meets all your goals.
Time has a way of passing quickly, and it is easy to put your plan in a safety deposit box and forget it. After all, the hard work has been done. Now you can relax and have peace of mind that your family is taken care of.
Although the hard part is over in setting up your plan, it’s a mistake to file it away and forget about it. Your estate plan captures your life at a moment in time and applies the best information you have at that time. Even though your plan is drafted to be useful and relevant for many years, there will be changes in your family, as well as changes in estate and tax laws which may lead to adjustments needed in your estate plan.
A quick review each year is a good idea to address any changes in your life. Then a thorough review is recommended every five (5) years. Also, a review is appropriate when a major life event occurs.
For example, these major events should trigger a review of your estate plan:
- Your marital status changes
- You add to your family through birth, adoption, or marriage (stepchildren)
- Your spouse or family member has died, has become ill or is incapacitated
- You receive a sizable inheritance or gift
- You anticipate financial difficulty in the future
- Your health deteriorates
- You move to another state or country
- You are retiring
- Your executor or trustee becomes ill or dies
- Your executor or trustee no longer wishes to serve in this capacity
Remember, an estate plan, including your trust, will, powers of attorney and personal directives, should be reviewed periodically to make sure they are up to date and fulfill your needs. Not all life changes mean your documents need to be amended, but if they do, we can help you through the process.