Troubleshooting Legal Problems

Specific times when you should update an estate plan

Estate plans need to be reviewed – and potentially updated – regularly after they are created to make sure that they are current concerning the assets that a person owns and the goals they want to accomplish.

Instead of updating the plan every one-to-three years, you can also use certain life events as a warranted excuse to make an adjustment. Here are a few examples of what such events could look like.

The number of your heirs changes

If your family changes and you have a different number of heirs, you may need to take someone out of your estate plan or add someone in. For example, if one of your heirs passes away unexpectedly or a grandchild is born, you may need to update your estate plan to reflect those realities.

Your assets change significantly

You’ll also want to consider what you hope to leave to your heirs and make adjustments when there are major changes. If you’re a business owner, for example, you may need a succession plan to pass your business down. If you sell that business, then you’ll need an estate plan adjustment to transfer financial assets received as a result of the sale.

You face health complications

Finally, you’ll want to consider your own health and how that can be reflected in your estate plan. For instance, perhaps you have been diagnosed with a serious disease that means your life will be shorter than you expected and you need to get your plan in order in time. Or, maybe you still expect to live a long life, but it’s clear that you’re going to have medical needs. You may want to add an advance directive or a medical power of attorney to your estate plan accordingly.

Updating your plan

When you should update your plan will largely depend on the specifics of your life. Just make sure that you need you know exactly what legal steps to take when you reach this point. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.