Even though many people consider a comprehensive estate plan to be a concrete document that clarifies the individual’s wishes after he or she dies, individuals should revise the set of documents at regular intervals. Many financial experts agree that people should review and update the estate plan every three to five years to account for changes. Additionally, significant life events will always necessitate a revision.
While everyone’s life follows a unique path, there are three significant life events the must trigger a revision to the estate planning documents:
- A change in marital status: Whether it is divorce or marriage, any change in your marital status should be accurately reflected in your estate planning documents. Additionally, it is wise to either include or remove your spouse from any life insurance policy and retirement accounts as soon as possible.
- The birth of a child: While the birth of a child might not necessitate a change to the will, individuals will often create a trust for the new minor child. The trust provides financial stability to the child after the unexpected passing of a parent. In addition to childbirth, individuals might also update these documents following a stepparent adoption or agency adoption to ensure all children gain financial strength.
- Real estate transactions: While this might seem obvious, too many individuals are caught up in the act of buying or selling property and updating the estate plan takes a backseat. People might make these revisions eventually, years later, but it is wise to update the estate plan as soon as all parties have finalized the real estate transaction.
It is important to ensure your estate plan accurately reflects your financial portfolio and relationships with loved ones. Whether the individual updates the estate planning documents on a regular basis or only after significant life events, it is crucial that people revise them when necessary. Do not hesitate to review your plan and make changes.