Many times, once we put our estate plan in place, we tend to check it off
our “To Do” list and then don’t think about it anymore.
It is a completed task in our minds. Except that, an estate plan isn’t
a task; it is a plan that needs to change and evolve as you and your family
change and evolve. Failing to update an estate plan may result in an outdated
distribution plan that doesn’t reflect your current wishes.
As a baseline guide, you want to revisit your estate plan at least every
3 years. Even if your family circumstances haven’t changed, in many
cases the laws have and those changes may have an impact on your plan.
A “check-up” with your estate planning attorney can help make
sure that the law still allows your plan to work in the manner you had
in mind when you put it together.
In addition, you want to revisit your estate plan immediately if you have
1) married, 2) divorced, 3) added a child to the family, 4) had a death
in the family, 5) moved to another state, 6) had a change in health or
7) if you have had a material change in the value of your estate. All
of these factors may necessitate revisions to your current plan.
For many people, the reason we put an estate plan in place was to communicate
our wishes. If we didn’t want to communicate our wishes, we would
just let our estates be distributed as dictated by the intestate succession
laws of our states. Communicating our wishes is not best accomplished
with a one-time trip to the estate planning attorney’s office. It
is best accomplished through an ongoing dialog that allows our plan to
always be in synch with our lives.