The new year is a good time to make sure your household affairs are in good order. Revisiting your estate planning documents should be on your list if it’s been more than three years since you updated them or if you’ve experienced significant life changes.
How Often to Update a Will and Other Estate Planning Documents
We recommend reviewing your estate plan every three to five years to make sure your plan still works for you. For many people, there won’t be any changes to make other than ensuring that documents like Power of Attorney (POA) forms and advanced directives for healthcare are updated. Having these documents up to date makes them more easily accepted when they’re needed by financial institutions and health care authorities. Sometimes banks, for example, will decline to accept old forms.
Life Changes that Warrant Updating an Estate Plan
A lot of things can affect your estate planning, such as changes in tax law, your financial situation, and your family situation. Having a meeting with your estate attorney gives you an opportunity to describe any developments since your last meeting.
Common reasons to revisit a Will or estate plan include:
- You’ve moved from one state to another. If your Will was valid in the state where it was created, it should be recognized as valid by any other state where you later become a resident. However, due to differences in local laws, trying to probate and administer an out-of-state Will may not go seamlessly. Therefore, the general advice is to seek an estate planning attorney in the new state of residence to update your Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care agency type documents so that they will work as efficiently as possible in the new state.
- Your family situation has changed. Changes in marital status, such as marriage, divorce, or widowhood, warrant updating an estate plan. This is especially true if you’re now in a blended family situation. Nontraditional families and those with special needs or beneficiaries with disabilities also want to make sure that their estate planning documents have kept up with changes in their family situation.
- Your health has changed. If you’ve received a health diagnosis that may signal incapacitation at some point, you may want to consider estate planning instruments that can give you greater peace of mind, such as a revocable living trust.
These are just a few reasons that it’s a good idea to take a fresh look at your estate plan this year. For a complimentary estate planning consultation or for assistance with updating your current estate planning documents, contact Morgan & DiSalvo at 678-720-0750.