If you have already created a comprehensive estate plan then you know the importance and value in having an estate plan in place which puts you ahead of over half of all Americans. Don’t make the mistake, however, of thinking you are now done. On the contrary, even an expertly drafted and well thought out estate plan can fail when the time comes because the plan creator didn’t take the time to review and revise the plan as needed after it was originally created. As a general rule, your estate plan should be reviewed as a matter of course every three to five years and when life events warrant a review. Although each plan is unique, there are some life events that commonly occur and that call for a revision of your estate plan, including:
Birth – the birth or adoption of a potential heir or beneficiary calls for a review. You may wish to explicitly exclude or include the potential heir.
Death – the death of a beneficiary clearly calls for a review of your plan. What people often overlook, however, is that the death of a trustee, executor, guardian, or even your financial planner or attorney also calls for a revision of your estate plan to include the successor.
Marriage – if you, or a beneficiary, gets married you need to review your estate plan to decide how to include (or exclude) the spouse.
Divorce – both your divorce and that of a beneficiary calls for a review of your plan and corresponding revisions. Failing to review a spouse after a divorce can result in leaving assets to the individual long after the divorce is final.
Move – because wills, trusts, and estates are governed largely by state laws, it is important to review your plan if you move to a new state to ensure that your plan will still work as expected in the new state.
Significant change in assets – small changes in estate assets should not require a revisions of your estate plan; however significant changes will require a revision.
If you have specific questions or concerns about reviewing and revising your estate plan, consult with your Missouri estate planning attorney.