I recently reviewed an estate plan for an older woman who first had her will drawn up in 1985, and then had an update done in 2002. So for this nice lady, every 15 years seemed to be the right length of time between having her will drawn up.
I don’t recommend that. For most people, going 15 years without reviewing your estate plan is way too long.
An estate plan is not something that you put together, throw in a drawer, and check off your list as something that is finished forever. An estate plan is not something that you put together, throw in a drawer, and check off your list as something that is finished forever.
An estate plan is meant to be a living, breathing, set of documents. It’s meant to change as the circumstances of your life change.
Today I put together a quick video explaining how frequently I think people should have their estate plan reviewed.
How Often Should You Review or Update Your Estate Plan?
Today I want to share with you the answer to a frequently asked question which is “how often should you update your estate plan?”
In general, here at The Hart Law Firm, we will review our client’s estate plans at least once every three years. We feel like that is a good time period to at least do a cursory review of your estate plan.
Do you need to update it every three years?
Maybe… Maybe not.
But for everyone that becomes a client of our firm, we will do that review every three years to make sure that you are staying up to date and that your documents are still doing what you intended them to do.
Many people need to update their plan more frequently than that.
Life changes and an estate plan is not something that you just throw in the drawer and check it off your list and be done with it.
Typically you are going to want to do an annual, or at least once every three-year review of your plan.
Membership Has its Rewards
The other thing we do is offer some membership programs. We will review the estate plans of our membership clients on an annual basis to make sure that nothing has happened that would require a change to their plan.
Not only that, but our membership clients also receive an annual Legacy Conversation™ to add to help build their Legacy Library. This is an incredible gift to your beneficiaries and loved ones and comes free of charge with every membership plan.
I have clients right now that recently finished up their plan and they are thinking about getting married in the next several months. That means that they are going to need to update their estate plan.
My Personal Experience
My wife and I first did our estate plan back in 2010. That was before I was doing estate planning.
Since that time, we have had three children, all the pets that were subject to the trust that we had drafted as part of that estate plan have now passed away. We’ve got another dog that is not in the estate plan, and my Mom who was one of the main beneficiaries of our estate plan has also passed away.
So we are actually in the process of redoing my estate plan right now.
So that’s what I would say. I would say that you need to review your estate plan at least every three years… more frequently if you can. But when you really need to do an update to your estate plan is when you have a life change.
So if nothing changes, then you can probably go five years or longer without updating your estate plan.
But chances are there are going to be changes. Your beneficiaries are going to change. Maybe the people who you want to serve as your powers of attorney will change, your guardians may change.
You may just go through normal life events, such as marriage, divorce, move to a new state, etc. that would necessitate a change.
So we would recommend that you review your estate plan at least every three years on average. More frequently in some cases and less frequently in others.
That’s it for today – have a great day folks and we will be back with another video!
Need to Update Your Estate Plan?
If it has been more than three years since you have had your estate plan reviewed or updated, then we recommend you give us a call for a review. For a limited time, we are happy to provide you with a complimentary estate plan review (typically a $750 value).
To set up a time to meet with us, please call our office at (919) 460-5422 or you can fill out our online contact form.