After creating your estate plan, you may initially want to just leave it as-is. After all, it takes so long to create a plan in the first place that not many want to start messing around with it soon after finishing.
In reality, however, you will likely need to update and review your estate plan much more often than you anticipate. How can you tell where your personal best times for review lie, though?
Reviewing your plan every 3-5 years
The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel discusses the appropriate times to review or update your estate plan. First, no legal definitions exist regarding when to do a review of your estate plan. In fact, you could go your entire life without reviewing it once and you would face no legal repercussions.
However, most sources agree that you should review your plan once every three to five years anyway. This accomplishes two main goals. First, it allows you to ensure that you remember all of the fine details of the plan that have likely slipped away over the years. Second, it gives you the chance to change your mind about certain decisions you made in the past.
Reviewing during periods of change
You should also review your plan any time you see a major and relatively permanent change in either your assets or your potential beneficiaries. This includes falling into debt, coming into money, selling or buying property, marrying, divorcing, adopting or birthing children, or having falling outs with family members.
You want your estate plan to reflect the current state of your life. This means that when your life changes in a big way, your estate plan should also change.