After you created your estate plan, you might have placed it in a drawer or a safe where it has sat ever since. Perhaps you thought your wishes were set in stone. Yet, if you recently experienced changes in your life, you may feel ready to dust your estate plan off.
Barring major events, experts recommend updating your estate plan once every three years. But it’s important to know the occasions on which you may need to revisit it sooner.
Changes in relationships
Revisiting your estate plan is crucial when the objects of your affection change and is especially important if you get divorced. Likely, you will want to keep your assets out of your former spouse’s hands. Nor will you want them to have the ability to make major decisions for you. Not only will you need to revise your will in this case, you may also need to update any documents that could give them control over your affairs, such as a power of attorney or living will.
Revisions to your estate plan may also necessary upon the death of — or estrangement from — a beneficiary or your executor. But changes can reflect positive developments, too. If you get married or remarried, or become a parent or grandparent, you will want to update your estate plan to account for your new loved ones.
Changes in assets
For your estate plan to be sound, it must include all your major assets. If you acquire or sell significant property, you will need to account for these events. Likewise, certain assets may gain or lose value over time, which can impact the worth of your estate. Failing to acknowledge these changes could create confusion for your beneficiaries down the road.
Changes in residence
Each state has different laws about estate planning. If you move to or from Michigan in the future, you will want to revise your documents to satisfy the requirements of your new state of residence.
Knowing when to update your estate plan is only half the battle. In revising it, you must also make sure your changes are valid. Taking the appropriate steps can be done with the help of a legal professional.