How Often Do You Need to Update Your Estate Planning Documents?

Do you already have an estate plan in place? If so, you are ahead of most people—according to a recent report from Forbes Magazine, nearly half of Americans over the age of 55 lack basic estate planning documents. 

Of course, life always brings changes. An estate plan that was set up many years ago may simply no longer be effective for your current needs You may be wondering: When should I update my estate plan

The answer depends entirely on your individual circumstances. Though, a periodic review of your estate plan is always a good idea. Here, our San Antonio, TX estate planning attorneys provide an overview of the most important things you need to know about when to update your estate planning documents. 

Update Your Estate Planning After A Major Life Event

You should be ready to update your estate planning documents after any major life events or changes. While not every event in your life will actually require a revision of your estate plan, it is always a good idea to check your estate planning documents to make sure that the plan is still the best for yourself and your loved ones. Specifically, some of the major life changes that often warrant an update to an estate plan include: 

  • Marriage/Divorce: As a Texas is a community property state, marriage/divorce plays a significant role in estate planning. If you recently got married, you may want to add your spouse to certain important estate planning documents. Similarly, if you recently got divorced, you may want to remove your former partner from your estate plan. 
  • Birth of a Child: The birth of a child often calls for an update to an estate plan. It is crucial that you make sure that your children are properly protected in the unfortunate event that something happens to you and/or your spouse. Among other things, parents can use their estate plan to name a guardian for their children. 
  • Major Financial Changes: Major changes in your finances could also justify a revision to your estate plan. Whether you purchased a home, made a significant investment, or started a new business, it is crucial that your current estate plan is best suited to meet the needs of yourself and your family. 
  • New or Revised Beneficiaries: If you have decided that you want to add or remove a beneficiary, it is time to update your estate plan. This is especially important if you have a complex estate or if you are leaving assets for a loved one who needs special care. 
  • Significant Health Changes: An estate plan is about more than just distributing assets, it is also about protecting your health and well-being in the event that you are no longer able to effectively care for yourself. If you or one of your close loved ones has experienced a significant health change, it may be time to update your estate plan. For example, if you gave your power of attorney to a family member whose health now prevents them from taking on the role, it is time for a change.

Review Your Estate Plan Every Three To Five Years

Beyond updating your estate plan after a significant life change, it is also a best practice to review your estate plan every three to five years. By doing so, you can ensure that your plan still works for your needs and achieves your objectives. Of course, upon reviewing your estate planning documents, you may determine that no changes are needed—the right plan might already be in place.

Updating An Estate Plan Does Not Have To Be Challenging

It is never too early to consider estate planning. Unfortunately, some younger people shy away from estate planning because they know that they will be required to update their documents in future. Do not let that dissuade you from getting started. Our legal team knows that life brings changes—your estate plan can change too. Updating an estate plan does not have to be a difficult process. Quite the contrary, an estate planning attorney can help you make some relatively quick alterations to keep your estate plan up to date and effective. 

Call Our San Antonio Estate Planning Lawyer Today

At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, we are caring and professional advocates for our clients. Our attorneys understand that estate planning is fluid and we are always prepared to help you update your estate planning documents. To arrange a free consultation to learn more about wills, trusts, and other estate planning vehicles, please contact us at (210) 239-9150. With an office in Selma, we represent clients in San Antonio and throughout Bexar County, Guadalupe County and Comal County..  

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