How Often Should I Have an Estate Plan Review?
A question we get asked about estate planning is how often they should be reviewed. After all, you finally pulled the trigger on crafting a comprehensive Will. Maybe you also have a Trust and other critical documents to protect you and your family. But as great as it is to have these documents in place, you wonder, “when should I have an estate plan review?”
For starters, avoid filing these documents away and “forgetting about them” for 10, 15, or 20 years. Even the most carefully crafted estate plan today can quickly become outdated if left to collect dust in a bedroom drawer. Life moves pretty fast, and needs and circumstances change. Therefore, it is wise for you and your estate planning attorney to review what you have and ensure it is current and expresses your ever-evolving wishes.
Schedule an Estate Plan Review Every 2-3 Years
So much can change in a person’s life, even after two short years. My life and circumstances are drastically different than two years ago, and I’m sure you can say the same about yourself and your family. Sitting down with your attorney every 2-3 years for an estate plan review can uncover anything from a minor change that everyone forgot about to significant issues that need to be resolved now.
Here are just a few life changes to consider in your estate plan review:
• Birth of a child or grandchild
• Death of a beneficiary
• Sale of property
• Substantial changes in assets
• Substantial changes in income
• A new business
• Changes in tax laws
• New retirement accounts
• Needed changes to executors or trustees
Keep Your Estate Planning Documents Safe and Accessible
When it comes to your estate planning documents, it’s also important to choose a place where they will always be safe. More importantly, choose a place where you can find them when it’s time for an estate plan review and where they’ll be accessible for loved ones who will one day need them.
Here are a few options:
• Keep the originals in a safe spot at your home where your executor will know where to look.
• Provide copies to your executor and other trusted people.
• Keep them in a fireproof and waterproof at-home safe (make sure your executor has a key).
• Use a safe deposit box (as long as someone else has access and you’re not prone to forget about them).
If my firm helped create your estate plan, and it’s been a few years since anyone has looked at it, I urge you to visit with me for a careful estate plan review. It may be that everything is still in order. But if anything has changed, it’s better to account for those changes now than wait until it’s too late.
Call Caitlyn Ashley Law today!!
Having a plan for the future is the most important gift you can give yourself and your family. Granted, none of us will ever know for sure what is around every corner in life. And just thinking about the what-ifs — what if I were to die or become incapacitated tomorrow; what if my child with special needs has no one to care for her; what if all my “stuff” isn’t passed onto the right people — can be overwhelming. But having a plan that accounts for your family’s unique circumstances, puts your affairs in order, has concrete solutions to your concerns, lays out your wishes and goals, and protects your family’s future provides peace of mind for the road ahead.
Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, Texas, will counsel you on which documents are best suited for your needs and ensure they are flexible enough to meet your changing needs for years to come.