Having a solid estate plan in place is a must, no matter your age or how many assets you have in your possession. It is equally important to update wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents on a regular basis. Kiplinger explains when you should revisit your estate plan and why it is important to do so.
Major life occurrences should trigger a thorough review of your estate plan. This can include a number of changes, such as a new marriage, divorce, birth, death, or adoption of a new child. Even if you do not experience a significant change to your life or finances, it’s recommended that you revisit your plan every five years or so. This particularly important as a person grows older, which can bring new challenges related to aging.
You might also consider implementing a trust in the event your needs change. A trust is a useful estate planning tool since it allows you to avoid the probate process. It also lets you determine how your assets will be distributed after you die. If you have minor children, you might want your assets to be distributed in installments or placed in a savings account until they reach a legal age. In this sense, a trust lends greater control and it is especially useful when combined with a legally binding will.
Changes in tax laws may also call for a review of your estate plan. When your plan was originally created, you might have taken steps to lower your tax burden. Now that tax laws have changed these protections may no longer be necessary, which means it could make sense to alter them. An estate planning attorney can help you make the necessary changes to ensure documents continue to meet your needs.