When should you update your estate plan?

 

So, you have an estate plan.

 

Great! If you’ve ever wondered when to update your Estate Plan,

this article will give you the inside scoop.

 

Did you know that it’s important to have your estate plan reviewed

by an attorney every few years? 

 

Estate planning is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process.

Laws governing estate planning and the federal estate tax exemption,

which determines the amount you may leave to heirs free of federal tax,

change frequently. Your circumstances may have changed as well.

 

The following article by Rebecca Berlin is a great resource for understanding why it’s important to have your estate plan reviewed by a trusted attorney every 5 years or so.  (Article credit: http://www.alllaw.com)

 

Updating Your Estate Plan  By Rebecca Berlin

 

“It’s a good idea to update your estate plan every few years or after the occurrence of significant life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child. Even if you haven’t experienced any of the events since you last updated your estate plan, there may have been changes in tax laws or changes in your financial situation that necessitate a reevaluation of your estate plan.

 

Your desires as far as how your property will be distributed are likely to change over the years, especially as certain events occur in your life. For example, if you get a divorce, you probably don’t want to make the same bequest to your former spouse as you did when you were married. In some states, provisions regarding an ex-spouse in your will can be disregarded, and the remaining portions of your will followed. In other states a will that is created prior to a divorce will be deemed invalid after the divorce.

 

The birth or adoption of a child is another life event that will require you to update your estate plan. Even if your will already provides for children, it is a good idea to update it each and every time you have a child.

 

Other significant events that will require you to update your estate plan are marriage, re-marriage, the death of a beneficiary, and the death of an administrator or executor. Most states provide for a statutory share of the estate to go to a surviving spouse. If this statutory requirement is not in keeping with your estate planning desires, you will need to have a valid pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement to avoid it.”