How Often Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

by | Oct 16, 2021 | estate planning

Once you have gotten the hard part done and set up your estate plan, you may be wondering when it will be time to take another look at it. In most cases, you can update or change your estate plans at any time. However, there are some situations in which you should make updates to your estate plan as soon as you can.

California Estate Planning Attorneys

When you are ready to begin updating your estate plans, the estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver are here to help. Our attorneys have successfully assisted their clients through every stage of the estate planning process. If you have not yet gotten started with estate planning, we can also help you get on track. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney to move forward with creating or updating your estate plans.

When Should You Review Your Estate Plan?

Generally, it is a good idea to review your estate plans from time to time. As a rule, you should review your estate plan at least every three to five years. Ideally, you should take a look at your estate plans, financial information, and assets annually. At the very least, it is crucial to review your estate plans after any big life changes or events.

Updating Your Estate Plan After Important Life Events or Changes

When a major life event happens, such as a marriage or the birth of a child or a grandchild, you must take a look at your current estate plans and make updates or changes as needed. Many people will want to ensure that their spouse or that any additional children are properly included in their wills, trusts, or other estate plans as soon as possible.

If you did not have any children when you finished your estate planning but have since had a child, you should be sure to name someone in your will to take on the role of guardian of your child. If you have a minor child or children and you do not name a guardian in your estate plans to care for your children upon your passing, this decision could be left up to the court. This may result in an outcome that you would not want, so it is crucial to state your wishes in your estate plans to have control over in this scenario.

After Which Life Events Should I Update My Estate Plans?

In addition to getting married or having children, there are some other life events that you may want to update your estate plans after experiencing. One such life event is the purchase of a new home or substantial asset. You will likely want to update your estate plans to include any sizeable new asset to ensure that you account for it.

Another event that should cause you to take another look at your estate plans is a major illness or disability suffered by you or your spouse. You should take some time to review the advance medical directive portion of your estate plans to make sure that you have stated how you want significant medical decisions to be made if you are incapacitated and are unable to make medical decisions on your own. 

Additionally, now would be the time to draft power of attorney documents if you have not done so already. If you already have financial and medical power of attorney documents in place—be sure to review them and determine if you want to make any changes to the terms or to the designated agents.

If you get a divorce or there is a death in the family, it is also imperative that you look over your estate plans and make any necessary updates or changes. For example, you likely no longer want to have your former spouse be the beneficiary of your life insurance policy or financial accounts, if applicable. 

In many cases, your spouse may have a substantial role in your estate plans—so speaking with an estate planning attorney may be the best route to take to ensure that you make all of the updates and changes that you need to. If there is a death in the family, you may also want to review your estate plans to make changes to your beneficiaries if that person had been included as one in your estate plans. 

Finally, if there is a death or any type of change in circumstances regarding the person or entity you have chosen to serve as the executor of your estate or a trustee, or a similar type of role, you will need to make some changes to your estate plans. You can update your estate plans and designate a new person to fulfill these roles as needed.

Contact Your Santa Rosa Estate Planning Attorney Today

At Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc. we are committed to delivering personalized legal guidance to you that is individually tailored to your unique circumstances.  If you are ready to get started on creating an estate plan, contact us today at 707-538-6074 or fill out our online contact form.