Creating your estate plan is just the first step in the long journey of estate plan creation and management. Your plan should reflect the circumstances of your life, meaning that as your life changes, your plan also should.
But how do you know when the time is right to review your plan? Should you follow guidelines or rules, or is it all up to you?
Refreshing your memory
The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel discusses reasons to review your estate plan. Generally speaking, most sources agree that you should review your plan once every three to five years. This gives you a chance to refresh your memory and make sure that everything you wrote back then still applies today.
However, if you undergo major life changes, especially in areas that affect your assets or your beneficiaries, you should also review your estate plan.
Changes to assets or beneficiaries
Changes to assets can include a sudden loss or gain, such as gaining an inheritance or falling into debt. It can include transfer of assets from one form to another, like buying or selling property.
Changes to beneficiaries include any major alteration to the people you would want to benefit from your estate. This can include gains like marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, or simply growing closer to a friend or relative. It can also include losses like divorce, the death of a loved one, or estrangement.
By reviewing your estate plan, you can stay on top of the changes you may need to make. This will ensure that your estate plan stays relevant and up to date.