Estate planning is not a one-and-done process. Life changes often necessitate updates to your will and other estate planning documents. Ensuring your plan reflects your current wishes and situation can help avoid potential problems when you pass away.
There are some key times when you should update your will.
When major life events occur
Your will and estate plan should reflect your current situation. When major life events occur to change things, you should revise your will accordingly. For example, following a marriage, divorce or the birth of a child into your family, you should update your will and beneficiaries.
You should also revise your documents following the death of a beneficiary or executor. If something happens to change your relationship with an intended beneficiary or executor, that should encourage you to update your estate plan as well.
When your finances change
Over time, your financial situation evolves. You might invest in more property, increase your assets or need to plan for changes in the tax laws. When these situations arise, make sure you evaluate your estate plan to ensure that it accounts for those changes.
Every few years
Even without major life changes, you should review your will every 3-5 years. Outdated information in your documents can invalidate parts of your plan. Regular reviews ensure your will accurately reflects your wishes.
Recent statistics show that less than 20% of American adults under age 30 have a will and estate plan. However, planning ahead can help you define how you want your assets distributed. With thoughtful preparation, you can gain peace of mind knowing your affairs are in order.