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  • Writer's pictureRuth-Ann E. Toups

When Should I Update my Estate Planning Documents?

There is no hard and fast rule that every x number of years you should update your will, trust, powers of attorney, or other estate planning documents. A well-drafted will or trust may never need to be updated. However, there are a few times that you should consider updating your will or trust.

You should update your will when there are changes in your family. There are five life events that should trigger a call to your estate planning attorney: birth, death, marriage, divorce, and a move. If you or any of your beneficiaries experience these major life changes it may be time to take a look at your will. It is especially important to review your estate plan when you move to another state. Often, wills are drafted with contingencies and may not even require an update, but you should take the time to at least review them when there are major changes in your life. On occasion, these life events will call for a change to your estate plan.

You should update your will when you have a change in what you own, whether that is cash, investments, or property. If you acquire a new asset, particularly real property, it is important to understand how that fits into your current plan. If your assets are significantly less than the last time you updated your estate plan you may wish to consider simplifying your estate plan.

You should update your will when you change your mind about who gets what or who is in charge. Do not wait until it is too late, or you are no longer able to change your documents! If you are ever in doubt about whether your estate plan should be updated or not, do not hesitate to give your attorney a call.

While you may not need to update your will on a regular basis, you should update your powers of attorney more regularly. We frequently see changes and updates to powers of attorney to make them more effective and more protective. As you age it becomes more important to keep your powers of attorney as up to date as possible in case you become incapacitated.

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