How Often Should You Get a New Estate Plan?

Once you have an estate plan in place, you would probably never need to get a new one. However, your existing instruments probably need periodic renewal, and you might need to add some new things.

What is the appropriate schedule for estate plan maintenance? Well, there is actually no standard. It should depend on your unique situation: your family life, your age, your goals and so on.

Big events

As explained on FindLaw, there is a relatively long checklist of times to review your estate plan. The general idea is that anything affecting your family should serve as a cue.

This is usually a major life event. Examples could be the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary, a divorce, the marriage of one of your children and so on. There is almost no limit as to how these types of things could affect how your estate plan operates. They might also change your goals for the future.

Slow changes

Even if there are no watershed events, you would generally want to revise and update your estate plan on a regular basis. Depending on your age and the legal environment, that could mean anywhere from annually to every five years.

Most people check in with their attorneys (or their attorneys check in with them) every five years. This schedule should help you keep up with your estate plan’s legal context.

Constant attention

It might seem like a lot of work to look at your plan every five years, but a lot can change in that time. A periodic review permits you to check against your current situation and objectives. You might be surprised at how much your priorities change.

Political shifts over long periods could also have an influence on the execution of your estate plan. Staying up to date helps you pursue what is the true goal of most any estate plan — to empower your heirs and give your family a clear path towards your vision of an ideal future.