How do you know when it’s time to update your estate planning documents? As we explain, it’s a matter of your life circumstances, your family members and loved ones, and the law.
How do you know when it’s time to update your estate planning documents? This is a question that a lot of people have and it’s easy to feel like because you got it done once, because you put it in a drawer somewhere, it’s done and you don’t need to go back there. But that may not be true.
I’m estate planning and probate attorney Sarah Siedentopf and if you would like to speak to me about your specific circumstances, and whether you personally need to update your estate planning documents, please give me a call.
But, in general, here are the things that you should be thinking about. Have your life circumstances changed? Have you gotten married? Divorced? Had a child? Had a second or third child? Have things changed since you did the documents?
The next thing is, have the people changed? When you look back at your documents, have you named the correct people for executor? For guardian? All of these choices change over time. When we’re younger, we often named our parents as executor and as power of attorney, and at a certain point, it should be a spouse or adult sibling, or a friend. Then, at an even later time, you might be considering naming your adult child. The correct people and choices change.
The next question is, has the law changed? Of course, you’re not in a great position to figure that out without talking to an attorney. But the greater the number of years that have passed, or the more you’ve heard about new estate and tax laws or something like that, the more likely it is that the laws have changed and that the laws that your will and other documents were drafted under have been updated. So, if a number of years have passed, let’s say at least five, it’s always a good time to check. I, of course, recommend looking at your own documents once a year because that costs you nothing other than a few minutes make sure you know where they are in case they’re needed.
But if you’ve got questions about this, I’d love to get a call from you. Also, please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear from you that way as well. Thanks.