When you create your estate plans, you do so with the intent of protecting your legacy. However, if you do not update your estate planning documents, your legacy could end up in the hands of some stranger or intended person. Other complications could arise that could negatively impact your estate, such as heir disputes, nonfunded trusts, unexpected tax expenses, etc. There is also the possibility that your estate ends up in probate.
You can revise your estate plans as often as you like as long as you are mentally fit and capable. To minimize potential issues that could negate your hard work and planning, consider the following life events in which you should update estate plans.
Reasons to update estate plans
Ideally, you should aim to review and update your estate planning documents every few years. Review them in their entirety to ensure that they still reflect your current wishes. If you experience any of the above situations, you should consider their impact on your current lifestyle and revise them to reflect any changes that are necessary to protect you and your loved ones.
- Illness or incapacitation
- Birth, marriage, divorce or death
- Change in financial status
- Change in personal representative/executor
- Change heirs
- Tax law revisions
Estate planning is an important task that does not require a great deal of wealth. It provides a blueprint for everyone to follow if you are dead or unable to make legally sound decisions. Depending on the size of your estate and your plans, you may find it daunting to review everything all at once.