How often do people update their estate plans?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Estate Planning

Estate planning is a process that allows people to instruct how their assets are handled after they pass away. Notably, most estate plans include a will that names their heirs, divides their assets and puts an executor in charge of the probate process. 

Many people update their estate plans every two to three years to make necessary changes. Typically these changes are done to include new assets and beneficiaries. Besides that, an estate plan can also include trusts and powers of attorney for example. All of these factors can be changed over time. 

While an estate plan can be updated every few years, there are often reasons to act earlier. 

4 reasons to update your estate plans early

A lot can happen in a few years. People with estate plans may need to make changes for the following reasons:

  • Marriage: People often include their spouses in their estate plans. Their spouses may be primary beneficiaries of an estate. Some people also name their spouses as powers of attorney to manage the testator’s financial and medical decisions on their behalf.
  • Divorce: Many of the above changes may be reversed after divorce. Keeping an ex-spouse in an estate plan could lead to disputes, especially if a divorce was unfavorable. 
  • Children: When parents have children, they often name child guardians. A child guardian would be a child’s caretaker if the child’s parents suddenly pass away.
  • Business succession: Many people create businesses. An estate plan can include plans to help ensure a business is passed on to someone else, such as a spouse or child. 

People can update their estate plans for any reason. However, people may need to be aware of their legal rights when making changes to their estate plans. Learning more can help you find the right plan for your needs.