Having an estate plan in place is a great place to start. But estate planning should never be a one-time thing. It is an ongoing process that requires revisions and updates as you grow older and your life changes.
How do you know when it is time to make some changes to your documents or even create new ones? Here are a few factors that should cause you to take another look at your plans.
Your family is changing
Families change over time, which means you may need to make updates regarding your beneficiaries, executor, guardian, trustee and powers of attorney. Any change in your family may warrant a revision to your estate plan, including divorce, marriage, death, birth or adoption.
There are new laws
When the laws change, your estate plan should too. The law does not have to be specifically about estates, either. New laws regarding taxes, alimony and property may be relevant too.
Financial setbacks and windfalls
Your wishes may change along with your finances. Financial improvements include receiving an inheritance, business success and getting a return on investment. You may want to distribute your estate differently when your estate is worth more. Plus, you may need to start worrying about avoiding the estate tax.
A downturn may be relevant to your estate too. If you experience a setback, you may want to make changes to your charitable contributions, for example.
All types of relationships change over time, whether it is a romantic partnership, friendship or familial bond. You may become distant or even estranged from someone over time who you may want to disinherit. Additionally, you may make new bonds with people who you want to add to your estate. Any time someone important either leaves or enters your life, it is worth it to revise your plan.
Aside from these factors, you should come up with a schedule to regularly review your plan.