Estate plans cannot simply sit unchanged as the years go by. Their purpose is to reflect your life in its current state, meaning you need to update these plans somewhat regularly.
How do you know that it is time to update your estate plan, though?
Regular reviews and refreshers
Forbes talks about the timeline for updating an estate plan. Generally speaking, most estate plans should have a review once every three to five years. This holds true even if nothing significant changes in your life.
Doing a somewhat regular review in this way allows you to refresh your memory about the contents of the plan. Though not much may have changed, you may still want to look over the small details in case they no longer align with your life.
Updates for major life changes
If you face any major changes, you also want to review and likely update your plan, including making changes to beneficiaries and assets. With assets, consider both negative changes, such as financial losses or bankruptcy, and positive changes, such as an inheritance. You should also account for the effects of transferring one type of asset into another, as with real estate transactions.
Beneficiaries are those people you want to benefit from your will. These may change often throughout your life. For example, you likely do not want your divorced spouse on your estate plan. However, you may want to provide for the children of your second marriage.
If you keep on top of the transitions in your life and make sure your plan reflects them, then your loved ones will have less to deal with after your death.