How do I review my estate plan, and how often should I do it?

It is always good to review and update your estate plan periodically. Changes to family, finances, income, and life events can require people to change the configuration of their estate planning tools for end-of-life care and asset management.

Please continue reading to learn more about people who need to review and update their estate planning tools, and schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer for more information about reviewing your estate plan.

estate plan review

How often should you review your estate plan?

Everyone experiences life at a different pace. However, reviewing your estate plan every year or every couple of years is a good rule of thumb. Given any significant life updates, this allows you to ensure that the current plan reflects your wishes.

When reviewing an estate plan, it’s best to keep the following life events in mind:

  • The birth of a child or grandchild
  • The transition of a child or grandchild to adulthood
  • A diagnosis of a terminal or disabling illness of the estate holder or their beneficiaries
  • Passing of a spouse, child, or other dependent
  • A recent marriage or divorce
  • Any changes in life insurance plans
  • The purchase or acquisition of a significant asset like a home or business investment
  • Any significant fluctuation in the value of liquid or tangible assets, like home values, bank accounts, investment accounts, or retirement accounts
  • The receipt of a substantial inheritance or form of assets

What portions of my estate plan should be updated?

Once it becomes clear that you should likely review and update your estate plan, the question becomes, what should be reviewed? Below are the most common provisions reviewed and changed throughout the life of an estate plan.

Asset identification and allocation

It is best to review all assets after some time to ensure the estate plan is fully updated on the inclusion or exclusion of assets. This is important because estate plans address the transition of ownership of assets, which can have significant tax consequences incurred by the estate or its beneficiaries. Changes may have to be made based on the asset’s change in value or the financial situation of one or more of the asset’s intended beneficiaries.

Instructions to executor and beneficiaries

Estate plans often include instructions on asset allocation, end-of-life care, and messages to be sent to loved ones and associates. A person must review these instructions frequently to ensure they reflect that person’s wishes and values.

Organization of an estate plan

The organization of the estate plan can encompass the designation of beneficiaries, the assignment of executors, and even the location of the estate document’s storage. Thus, a person should review the organization of the estate plan periodically to ensure it meets the estate holder’s wishes.

When to seek professional help for an estate plan review

It’s best to seek the advice and counseling of an estate planning attorney whenever you consider conducting an estate plan review. By seeking professional legal counseling, an estate holder can ensure their assets are transferred in compliance with federal and Virginia law. For example, under § 64.2-403 of the Virginia code, material changes to a will must be done in writing with two persons witnessing the change. Thus, seeking legal assistance can ensure any changes are made lawfully.

Contact our estate planning attorneys for assistance today

Do you need assistance reviewing or updating your estate plan to ensure your end-of-life care is addressed and your assets are protected? Please contact Select Law Partners PLLC at (855) 541-4867.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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