Estate planning is more than a one-time task. To ensure that your estate plan remains effective and aligned with your wishes, it needs regular reviews and revisions when necessary. Here’s why periodic estate plan reviews and updates are vital and the circumstances that usually call for a revision.
Only Constant Is Change
Drafting an estate plan is a significant step towards securing your assets and ensuring their smooth transition to your loved ones. But remember, an estate plan isn’t a set-in-stone document. As your life evolves, so should your estate plan. Regular reviews help keep your plan updated, protecting your wealth and your beneficiaries.
Think of your estate plan as a living document that reflects your current situation, goals, and wishes. Significant life changes can dramatically impact these elements. Therefore, periodic reviews give you the opportunity to adjust your plan accordingly, ensuring it continues to serve your interests and those of your loved ones effectively.
So, when should you consider revising your estate plan? Let’s look at some of the scenarios that would create the need for an update.
One of the most common triggers is a change in family circumstances. Events like marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, or the death of a loved one can all necessitate a revision in your estate plan. These changes can affect who you want to inherit your assets or who you want to assign as an executor or guardian.
Next, consider your financial situation. Changes in your wealth, whether it’s the acquisition of significant assets like a home or a business, a substantial increase in your investments, or even a financial setback, warrant a review of your estate plan. Adjusting your plan to reflect your current financial situation ensures the appropriate distribution of your assets.
Changes in your health or your beneficiaries’ health may also require an update to your estate plan. For example, if you or a loved one becomes seriously ill, you may need to adjust your health care directives or make provisions for long-term care.
Legislative changes are another prompt for estate plan revisions. Tax laws, probate laws, and regulations surrounding trusts and estates can change over time. Regularly reviewing your plan with an estate planning attorney ensures it remains compliant with current laws, protecting your assets from unnecessary taxation or legal complications.
Even without significant life events, it’s a good practice to review your estate plan every three to five years. This helps identify any minor changes that might have been overlooked but could still impact your estate plan.
Remember, estate plan revisions are not just about adding new assets or changing beneficiaries. Sometimes, it might involve removing certain assets from your will if you’ve disposed of them or adjusting the specifics of a trust. You might also need to change executors or trustees if your originally named individuals can no longer fulfill these roles.
Maintaining open communication with your loved ones about your estate plan is also important. Letting them know when you’ve made revisions can prevent misunderstandings or disputes later on. It also allows you to explain your decisions, providing your family with a clear understanding of your wishes.
Take Action Today!
If you have not looked at your estate plan in years, today is the day to schedule a consultation with our firm. We can go through the details with you, ask all the right questions, and make sure that your current plan reflects your wishes.
And of course, if you would like to put your first estate plan in place, we can provide the necessary guidance. To set up a consultation at our Oklahoma City estate planning office, give us a call at 405-843-6100. Our location in Tulsa can be reached at 918-615-2700, and you can fill out our contact form to send us a message.