Financial Education

How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan?

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October 15th, 2018

How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan Hero How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan Hero

A best practice of managing personal finance is to monitor your financial plan's progress. However, different parts of your plan may require different review times. How often should you review the estate plan component of your overall plan to ensure that strategies and documents are up to date?

Though real-time life changes override a scheduled review, you should re-evaluate your estate plan:

  • Immediately after a major life event
  • Annually with a general review, accounting for economic and tax changes
  • Thoroughly every five years

Overriding principle: ensure that your goals are met by your estate plan—your dynamic living instructions—which you can change only while you are alive. Whatever instructions exist at your death become irrevocable, so be sure today's plan reflects your future intentions.


Reasons or triggers for a periodic estate plan review:


  • Your marital status (or that of your heirs) has changed
  • Family size grew through birth, adoption or marriage
  • Spouse or family member died, became ill or incapacitated
  • Someone became dependent on you


  • Asset values or your plans for assets changed
  • Inheritance, gift or other windfall received
  • Significant gift donated
  • Substantial funds borrowed or lent
  • Concern about exposure to lawsuits


  • Your income or spending needs changed
  • Employment change, impacting your retirement plans or income


  • Business changes (you started, bought, sold, reorganized; you revised a pension, buy-sell agreement, deferred compensation plan, employee benefits)


  • You changed residences
  • You made property ownership changes
  • You are retiring

Estate plan changes:

  • You no longer remember what your estate plan will instruct at your passing
  • You made changes in appointees (trustees, personal representatives, beneficiaries, guardians, powers-of-attorney, etc.)
  • Over five years have elapsed since your last review

Reviewing your estate plan regularly not only gives you peace of mind, but also alerts you to any needed changes in your entire financial plan. While reviewing your estate plan, take into consideration your overall, and sometimes competing, family goals plus tax exposures and financial positions to assure that all elements work together in an integrated whole.

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