Updating Estate Plan

The Basics of Updating & Reviewing Your Estate Plan

This article will help you to understand why it is necessary to regularly update & review your estate plan. It will also show you what life events are & why they matter when your estate planning is involved.
Reviewing & Updating Your Estate Plan

Review Your Estate Planning Documents Every Year

Estate planning documents are the foundation of your estate plan. They establish you as a trustee, designate heirs to inherit from you, and provide instructions for what should happen if you become incapacitated or die without a will. Estate plans can also include other financial instruments such as trusts, wills, or life insurance policies.

Think about it

The annual review enables trustees to make changes such as updating beneficiary information as needed in order to maintain the desired outcomes created by an original document such as a trust agreement or probate court orders that set forth who inherits assets upon death according to state law.


Annual reviews may not be necessary for some families where one spouse has died with no children and the second spouse is living only long enough – like three years -to qualify for Social Security benefits.

How To Update & Review Your Estate Plan

Look at your estate planning regularly. Check it every three to five years or when there is a significant life event. Consult your solicitor or financial advisor for assistance.

Let’s have a closer look

Examples of Life Events:

  • A birth or death in the family
  • When your child reaches adulthood
  • When your grandchild needs finances for education
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Illness
  • Buying a home
  • Taking a huge loan
  • Changes to tax laws
  • Starting a new job or starting your own business
  • Increases or decreases in the value of your assets
  • Changes in your insurance coverage

If you review your estate plan regularly, you can rest assured that your estate will be distributed with ease to your beneficiaries1.

Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

  • To remove unnecessary assets from your estate.
  • To reduce or eliminate probate expenses and taxes.
  • For peace of mind in knowing that you have provided for loved ones, friends, family members, and charitable organizations through a will or trust agreement.

If there is no written plan for the distribution of assets after death, an individual’s property must go to his/her closest living relatives by state law without consideration as to what they would want with it.

The process can be costly and time-consuming if all heirs are not clear on this issue before their parent dies.

You see

Many people do not realize how easily wills can become outdated over just a few years due to marriage, divorce, childbirth, and children moving out of the home

The Process of Updating Your Estate Plan

Throughout the year, there are many changes that can affect your estate plan – marriage, divorce, childbirth, and children moving out of the home. You may have also experienced a significant change in finances due to retirement or taking on responsibility for aging parents.

But the bottomline is this

The process of updating your estate plan is not difficult but does take time as you will need to update beneficiary designations from life insurance policies, retirement plans IRA2), and financial accounts.

Common Questions

When should I update my estate plan?

How often should the estate plan be updated?

How do I know if I need to update my estate plan?

What will happen if I don't keep my estate plan updated?

In Conclusion

Now go out and do it!

Reviewing & updating your estate plan is very important. Checking it at regular times will ensure that your beneficiaries will be well looked after. Estate planning can help you to avoid paying inheritance tax² and make sure your beneficiaries are well looked after.


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