Drafting your estate plan doesn't mean your estate planning is over. You must review and update your estate plan in these circumstances:
- Periodically: At least every five years.
- When major life events occur:
- Change in marital status:
- New child
- Major change in financial status
- Health diagnosis for you, your beneficiaries, your fiduciaries (including, guardians, nominated executors, trustees, and agents under a power of attorney), or anyone who has an important role in your estate planning documents.
- Death of a beneficiary or fiduciary.
- Change your residence by moving to another state.
- Change in marital status:
- Other changes in a fiduciary, including:
- When a fiduciary cannot or no longer wants to serve.
- When a corporate fiduciary (such as a bank) is sold.
- When state or federal laws significantly change.
Here are some articles that support reviewing an estate plan at least every five years. (Emphasis is added.) Eric J. Einhart, When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?, Russo Law Group, Feb. 9, 2022 ("As a general rule, you should update your estate plan at least every five years and after any major life event."); CD Morarity, Opinion: Your estate plan might be outdated because it excludes digital assets, MarketWatch, Feb. 16, 2022 ("Think of your estate planning documents as a living document you update every five years. When it comes to making these updates, do not think they are permanent. Life changes, we move, people grow apart, and family and friends die. Even estate law changes."); Deborah Nason, When it comes to a will or estate plan, don't just set it and forget it, CNBC, March 1, 2022 (Apple News link) ("Clients should review their wills and powers of attorney every five years, said CFP Michael D. Whitty, an estate planning attorney with Freeborn in Chicago."); Kate Daugherty, 7 Consequential Decisions You'll Make When Writing Your Will, Finance Buzz, March 8, 2022 (Apple News Link) ("A good general rule of thumb is to review your will every two to three years, but you might find it easier to set aside one day a year to review and update all of the documents in your estate plan."); Monica Torres, The Biggest Mistake People Make In Their Wills, According To Estate Lawyers, Huffpost, March 8, 2022 (Apple News link) (quoting Dionna Reynolds, an estate planning attorney based in Orland Park, Illinois:"The biggest mistake people have when it comes to doing wills or estate plans is their failure to update those documents. . . . It's typically recommended that your estate plan be revised every five to seven years."). ↩︎
Lawyer and writer. Husband, father of daughter, son, brother to one brother and two sisters, uncle to eight nieces and nephews, and great uncle. Has two dogs and two cats. Loves technology and music.
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