When Should I Update My Estate Plan? Every person who has an estate plan prepared should understand it is not a “one and done” task. As a general rule, it is recommended that you update your estate planning documents every three to five years. In between those updates, you should regularly review the documents. At least once a year, in case there has been a major life event; marriage, divorce, birth, death, significant change in assets, etc. Any time you have one of those major life events, you should have your estate plan updated. Changes in the law, significant changes to your business affairs or investment structure, or changes in your beneficiaries or executors should also trigger an estate plan update.
Related Myths About Estate Plans
There are a number of myths and misperceptions regarding estate planning. Some of the most common of these include:
- All I really need is a will. While a will is an important piece of your estate plan, it does have certain limitations. Your California estate planning attorney can help you determine which documents you need for your estate plan.
- Once I ensure my assets are taken care of, my estate plan is complete. In addition to your finances and assets, you will also want to consider an advance healthcare directive to cover potential incapacitation, as well as other healthcare documents to cover any eventuality.
- I’m young—I don’t need an estate plan. If you are in your twenties, thirties, forties—or even fifties—you may think estate planning is a task you can wait to tackle for decades. Unfortunately, unexpected things happen every single day, and you would not want to compound an already emotional time for those you love.
- I don’t want to make an estate plan now because of changing life circumstances. You are right about one thing—your life circumstances will almost certainly change. Fortunately, you can update your estate plan at any time to reflect changes in your personal situation, financial situation, or both.
- Estate planning is just too complicated. Once you sit down with a knowledgeable California estate planning attorney and explain your unique circumstances, he or she will be able to create a highly personalized estate plan which accurately reflects your wishes.