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How often should you update your estate plans?

When many people create their estate plans, they often think that there’s nothing left to do. As a result, many estate plans end up collecting dust, figuratively speaking. However, there’s a glaring issue. While an estate plan doesn’t expire, it may need to be revised. 

An outdated estate plan can create issues for beneficiaries. A testator who doesn’t update their estate plans may forget to include new investments and beneficiaries. An outdated estate plan could lead to prolonged probate and disputes if it isn’t resolved during the testator’s life. It’s generally believed that an estate plan should be updated every few years so that testators can make a new itemization of their estate and revise how assets are split. 

There are few other times when an estate plan should be revised. Here’s what you should know:

3 times to update your estate plans

A lot can happen in just a few years. There are certain events in life that may make a testator consider making changes to their estate plans. Here are just a few:

  • Marriage and divorce: Marriage and divorce are two big life-changing events. Testators going through either of these may want to consider adding or removing their spouses from their estate plans.
  • Children or grandchildren: Parents may want to update their estate plans soon after having a child. An estate plan could include a guardian who would step in as their child’s caretaker for deceased parents. Or, grandparents may wish to set up trusts for the future of their grandchildren.
  • Business succession planning: Many testators have businesses that want to pass down to their children. A new business may need to be added to an estate plan. 

The reason a testator may need to update their estate plans is always unique. It often helps testators to learn about their legal options before committing to a revised estate plan.

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