You may have executed a comprehensive estate plan including a will, possibly a trust, a living will and powers of attorney for finances and health care. What you do not want to do following that is to leave that estate plan in a desk drawer gathering dust until you pass away. There are several reasons why it is important to review your estate plan accordingly and update it if necessary.
Families are always evolving, and thus so should your estate plan. If a new child or grandchild is born, you may want to include them in an existing will or trust. If you divorce or your spouse dies, you will want your estate plan to reflect this. The same is true if you remarry following death or divorce. You may want to include your new spouse in your existing estate plan. Changes in families warrant revisiting your estate plan, to ensure the right people inherit your assets. Similarly, you will want to ensure that the people you designated as executor of your estate and have power of attorney are still alive and up for the task.
Different states have different laws regarding estate plans. The requirements for executing a legal will may differ from state to state, as may estate or inheritance taxes. If you established your estate plan in one state and later moved to another state, you will want to revisit your estate plan to ensure it is legally sound.
Your assets change
Sometimes a person leaves specific assets to a specific heir. For example, you may want your child to inherit your automobile or a specific piece of jewelry. During your life, however, you may sell, lose or give away that asset. If so, you will want to revisit your estate plan and revise who gets what. After all, you cannot bequest something you do not own. The same goes if you gain an unexpected windfall or experience a major financial hardship such as bankruptcy.
Ensure your estate plan meets your wishes
Ultimately, it is recommended that your revisit your estate plan every few years to ensure it still meets your wishes. Life always brings changes, and these changes may affect your estate plan. By reviewing your estate plan periodically, you can account for these changes to ensure your estate plan still reflects your preferences.