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How Often Do I Need to Update My Estate Plan?


Many people believe that once they create an estate plan, they place their plan in their safe deposit box or in their office and they do not look at it for decades.  In reality, you should regularly review and update your estate plan to ensure that it still reflects your intentions.

So how often should you update your estate plan? Ideally, you should review and update your estate plan every three to five years or after major life events, such as a birth or death.

It is best to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine whether it is time to update your estate plan in Florida. At Legacy Protection Lawyers, we reach out to our clients every three years to offer a complimentary review of our clients’ estate planning documents.  These reviews do not always result in changes or updates to their documents, but it’s a great time to visit with our clients and refresh our memories about the intent of their estate planning documents.

What documents do you need to update?

When major life changes occur, you may need to update the following estate planning documents:

  1. Last Will and Testament
  2. Durable Power of Attorney
  3. Revocable living trust
  4. Healthcare Surrogate
  5. Life insurance beneficiaries

Updating an estate plan after major life events

As a rule of thumb, you should revise your estate plan every three to five years and when any major life events occur. It may be time to update your estate plan when any of the following occurs:

  • Marriage/divorce. Marrying someone or getting divorced is one of the most significant life events that warrant updating an estate plan. This is a significant event not only from an inheritance standpoint, but from an asset protection perspective.
  • Childbirth. Any addition to your family is a reason to update your estate plan, whether you are a parent or grandparent. Besides including a child or grandchild as a beneficiary in your Will, you may need to update your preneed guardian for minor children.
  • Significant changes in finances. Any time your financial situation changes drastically or you acquire new assets, it is advised to update your estate plan to account for these changes.
  • Changes in health. Depending on the nature and severity of the change in health, it may be a good idea to revisit your estate plan to make sure that it reflects your wishes. Moreover, this may be a good time to review your healthcare surrogate, living will, and funeral/burial desires.

Revising an estate plan does not necessarily mean starting over.  An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you update your estate planning documents by simply adjusting its provisions to meet your new objectives.

Revisiting your estate plan every three to five years

It is a good idea to periodically revisit your estate plan every few years, even if no major life events have occurred since the last time you updated or created your estate plans.

Our goals, intentions, and wishes may change over time, which is why your current estate plan may no longer work the way you intend. It would not take much of your time to review your estate plan and, if necessary, revise its contents to make sure that it is current. An experienced and detail-oriented attorney can help you update your estate plan and make necessary changes.

Speak with our St. Petersburg estate planning attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, to discuss your particular situation and find the most appropriate solution. Call 727-471-5868 for a consultation.

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