Writing your estate plan is just the first step of many when it comes to managing matters of the estate. While this first step often serves as the most crucial due to it forming the basis of all following steps, it is certainly not the last or the only one.
Updating your estate plan often holds just as much importance. After all, an outdated estate plan that no longer matches your wishes also serves no purpose.
Beneficiaries and financial changes
Forbes discusses some of the points of your estate plan that you should review immediately, which often include the parts that go through the most change: i.e., matters regarding your beneficiaries and assets.
You will likely list beneficiaries in your will or trust if you have one, and they may also hold joint accounts or have a mention on any life insurance policy you may have. Any beneficiary will have something to gain after your death.
However, beneficiaries can change numerous times over your life. You want to update your plan any time you see life events like divorce, marriage, death in the family, estrangement of family members, birth, adoption and other major changes. Likewise, when it comes to finances, you want to review your plan any time you gain or lose significant assets. This can also include transferring one type of asset into another, such as selling property.
Updating your plan even without changes
Generally speaking, experts suggest you review your estate plan once every three to five years even if you undergo no changes in this time period. You should also review it any time you see changes in the aforementioned areas. This keeps your plan reflecting your current life situation and desires for how your loved ones handle things after your death.