Setting up an estate plan is a great start to accomplishing your estate planning goals. But too many times we take the plan we’ve drawn up and lock it away until it’s needed. In this series, we’ll take a look at what you can do now to make sure that your estate plan will actually meet your goals when it’s time to be carried out.
Part 3: Updating Your Estate Plan
Hopefully, your estate plan won’t be needed for years to come. In the meantime, a lot can happen. The plan you created today may not be what you want or need tomorrow. Estate planning is a process that needs periodic updating.
Generally, you should review your estate plan every 3-5 years to make sure it still reflects what you want. But you should also update your estate plan anytime a major life event occurs. These events may change the amount or type of property you own; your needs or that of your loved ones; or the legal or tax consequences. The following are all reasons to update an estate plan:
- Marriages, divorces or remarriages (yours or a loved one’s)
- Birth of a child or grandchild
- Death of a spouse, child, personal representative or trustee
- Major changes in your financial situation like starting a business, buying a home, receiving an inheritance or retiring
- Children reaching the age of majority (and no longer needing a guardian)
- Disability or long-term illnesses
- Changes to Wisconsin’s estate planning or tax laws (an estate planning attorney can help with this one)
Congratulations on taking the time to create an estate plan. But that plan is a working plan that needs to be updated when your situation changes. Periodically reviewing and updating your estate plan is the best way to ensure that it still reflects your wishes down the road.