Some people avoid creating an estate plan because they think they have plenty of time before it will be needed. While this is a valid hope, there aren't any guarantees, so all adults should have an estate plan in place as soon as possible. Even though you might think that you can create the estate plan and then forget about it, this isn't the case.
You need to review your estate plan periodically to ensure that it still reflects your wishes. You also have to check it over when there are major events in your life.
How long has it been since you checked your estate plan?
As a general rule of thumb, people should review their estate plan at least every three years. Even if you don't have to make any changes, it's a good idea to read over everything and make sure that you still agree with every aspect of the plan. You might have to do this sooner if you have certain things happen.
What life events should trigger an estate plan review?
Major life events trigger an estate plan review. These include things like getting married or divorced, having children, minor children becoming adults, and having grandchildren. You may also need to review the plan if you acquire new assets or get rid of ones that are covered in the plan.
The death of an heir is another situation that requires you to change the plan. If you need to change the people you gave powers of attorney designations to, you also need to review the plan. This might occur if the person passes away or if you realize that there is someone who can handle the duties better.
What other events require you to check the estate plan?
If there are changes in the laws that govern your estate plan, you should review them. The same is true if there are changes in applicable tax laws. Your estate planning attorney can ensure things still go according to your wishes despite the law changes.
Remember, you will need to discuss any changes you make with your heirs if they knew the contents of your original estate plan. By doing this, they won't be shocked after you pass away because they'll already know about the changes that you made.