One thing that is clear about estate plans is that they do need to be updated. Simply writing the plan and then forgetting about it means that it could be outdated when you pass away.
But when should you update it? There are two main ways to address this, both of which can be beneficial, or you may want to use a blend of the two.
Focusing on life events
The first option is just to look for specific life events that mean it’s time for an update, and to make the updates when those things happen. For instance, you may have made an estate plan for your own adult children. But if one of them has a child, who is your grandchild, then it’s time to update the plan.
Other examples of important life events include getting an inheritance, getting divorced, getting married, the death of an heir, deciding to disinherit someone or being diagnosed with an illness.
Setting up a schedule
Another potential option is to decide on a schedule for these updates. Maybe you want to make an alteration every two years. This can be useful because it reduces the odds that you will forget to make the update at a key time. But it does create the potential for an outdated estate plan. Say that you make an update and then a grandchild is born. Do you really want to wait two more years to add them to the estate plan just because that’s the schedule that was decided upon?
As you can see, there are a lot of different things to think about, but it’s clear that having a plan in place in advance is very important. Be sure you understand all of the steps you can take and the various legal options that you have.