If you already have an estate plan in place, you may be better off than many Americans. Almost half of adults age 55 and over do not even have a simple will.
However, revisiting your estate plan regularly is just as important as creating one in the first place. While financial advisors often recommend reviewing your estate planning documents every three to five years, it is also essential to do so after major life events.
What life changes warrant estate plan review?
Any life event that alters your financial obligations, the value of your assets or your relationship to dependents or beneficiaries may be good reason to reassess your current estate plan. Some of the most common major changes include marriage, the birth of a child, the death of a spouse or divorce.
Other family-related reasons for modifying your estate plan may include:
- A child or grandchild reaching adulthood
- A child or grandchild requiring special needs care
- The death of an executor, trustee or named guardian for minor children
- A change in the number of dependents
You may also want to reassess your current plan due to a change in financial circumstances, including purchasing a home or other large asset, changing your life insurance or long-term care coverage or seeing a large increase or decrease in the value of your assets.
Whether you need to make changes or not, reviewing your estate plan frequently may help to avoid costly oversights and ensure the protection of your beneficiaries, your assets and your final wishes.