A lot of people find thinking and talking about what’s going to happen after they die so unpleasant that they can’t wait to finish the paperwork for their estate plans and forget about the whole thing.
The only problem is that an estate plan is something that has to be reviewed every so often — just to make sure that they still reflect your situation and your wishes. If it’s been a while since you’ve written your wishes down, here’s how you know it’s time to get those old papers out and start reviewing them:
- It’s been three years (or longer). In general, you should probably review your estate plans about once every three years to make sure that there’s nothing missing or outdated. (A regular review also makes it harder for someone to argue that you didn’t even remember what was in your will, should they try to contest it.)
- You moved to another state since you wrote your will. The rules for estate plans vary quite a bit from state to state. You may have paperwork that no longer meets the requirements to be legal.
- Your social situation has changed. Maybe you’ve remarried. Maybe you’ve had a falling out with the person you named as your executor. Human relationships are constantly in flux, so make sure that your estate plans keep up.
- You’ve had a significant change in financial status. Maybe your wealth has increased dramatically due to some lucky investments. Maybe you lost some wealth that you had intended to pass on to your heirs. Whatever the situation, your estate plans need to be reviewed in light of the changes to be fair.
If you find that your estate plans need to be updated, an attorney can help you get everything back in order and preserve your peace of mind.