Financial Education

How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan?

Reading time: 2 Minutes

February 14th, 2022

When managing your personal finances, it’s important to regularly review and update your financial plan to make sure it still fits your needs. However, different parts of your plan may require different review intervals. 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

The overriding principle here: Make sure that your goals are being met by your estate plan—your dynamic living instructions—while you still have the ability to change it. Whatever instructions exist at your death become irrevocable, so be sure today's plan reflects your future intentions.

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Here are some of the main life events that should trigger a review of your estate plan:

Family:

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

Assets:

  • 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

Income:

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

Business:

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

Lifestyle:

  • 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 larger financial plan. While reviewing your estate plan, take into consideration your overall, and sometimes competing, family goals, as well as tax exposures and financial positions to assure that all elements work together in an integrated whole.

If you need assistance reviewing and updating your estate plan, we’ve got experts who can help guide you through the process, so you can be sure your finances—and your legacy—are secure.

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