Is it time to update your estate plan?

Your estate plan is a constantly evolving piece of legal work. You do not just create an estate plan and allow it to sit there, as-is. You want it to reflect your most current life circumstances at any given point in time.

To this end, it is important to understand when you need to update your estate plan. Circumstances for updating look different for everyone, but a few hold true for all.

Changes to executors and trustees

Forbes discusses some of the most common reasons people have for updating their estate plan. First, you need to update if your trustees or executors are no longer appropriate. These people hold the most power over your plan, implementing it after your passing and ensuring its success. You want to ensure these people can and will perform the job as you would like them to do. Are they still capable of this? Have they moved away, passed away or come up against life changes that make them a poor choice now?

Changes to assets

Next, you want to update if your liabilities or assets change. Significant changes to the value of your estate – positive or negative – should always result in a review. Is it still divided in the way you wish? Should you change this in light of recent differences in assets or liabilities? You also want to review if the composition of your estate changes. For example, if you sell or buy real estate.

Changes to beneficiaries

Third, review your plan when ties between family and loved ones change. This often happens with new additions to the family, like births, marriages or adoptions. It can also happen through loss, when you lose a loved one or they grow estranged. You may also want to look over the charities your will mentions, too.

These are just a few areas of your estate plan that you can focus on. In the end, you just want to ensure that your plan abides by local law and aligns with your current desires.