By Robert E. Fravel, Esq.
By their very nature, estate planning documents are meant to be long lasting and are not prone to frequent revision. For those who are lucky enough to maintain a degree of stability throughout their life, there may only be one or two occasions which warrant a revision or adjustment of their estate plan. But for the vast majority of us, our estate plans should be updated every few years, or after every major life event, in order to follow through on our legacy wishes. With that being said, there are certain events that warrant the revising of some or all of your estate planning documents, or completely scrapping your previous estate plan and starting over. These events include:
- Marriage (first marriage or subsequent marriage);
- The birth or adoption of a new child;
- The death of a current beneficiary in your will or trust;
- Choosing to add or remove a beneficiary from your estate plan;
- Choosing to change your executor, trustee or guardian;
- You win the lottery! (or simply a change in your financial situation);
- A move to a different state
Keep in mind that a revision to your estate plan does not necessarily mean that you need to draft and execute all new documents. Sometimes a simple amendment or addendum will suffice. But each situation is unique. Generally speaking, significant changes will warrant new documents. If you have undergone a major life event and need to adjust your estate plan; or if you simply need a starter estate plan, make sure you sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney who can create a customized estate plan to suit your individual needs. And last but not least, do not procrastinate!