After creating an estate plan, many people will simply leave it and forget about it for years or even decades to come.
In reality, however, an estate plan should change just as often as your life does. After all, an outdated estate plan is almost as bad as having no estate plan at all. But how does a person know exactly when they should update their plan?
Reviewing the plan
The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel discusses the matter of updating an estate plan. First and foremost, no laws dictate when or how often someone should update their plan. They can update it as frequently (or infrequently) as they would like.
However, the general consensus remains that a person should at least review their estate plan once every three to five years, even if no major life changes happened during that period of time. A person does not need to update their plan every time they review it. This can simply act as a refresher, or it might reveal things that the person wished to change that they forgot about before they dealt with it.
Updating during major life changes
Outside of that, a person should review and update their plan every time they face a major life change that will likely last a decent amount of time. Examples can include falling into notable debt, gaining a notable sum of money, divorcing a spouse, remarrying, having kids, buying new property, or having a falling out with a relative.
Essentially, a person’s estate plan should always reflect their most current and major life events that affect their assets and beneficiaries.