An estate plan is a map that explains how you want your personal and financial affairs to be handled in the event of your incapacity or death. It allows you to control what happens to your property if you die or become incapacitated. An estate plan should be reviewed periodically.
When should you review your estate plan?
Although there's no hard-and-fast rule about when you should review your estate plan, the following suggestions may be of some help:
- You should review your estate plan immediately after a major life event
- You'll probably want to do a quick review each year because changes in the economy and in the tax code often occur on a yearly basis
- You'll want to do a more thorough review every five years
Reviewing your estate plan will alert you to any changes that need to be addressed.
There will be times when you'll need to make changes to your plan to ensure that it still meets all of your goals. For example, an executor, trustee, or guardian may die or change his or her mind about serving in that capacity, and you'll need to name someone else.
Events that should trigger a periodic review include:
- There has been a change in your marital status (many states have laws that revoke part or all of your will if you marry or get divorced) or that of your children or grandchildren
- There has been an addition to your family through birth, adoption, or marriage (stepchildren)
- Your spouse or a family member has died, has become ill, or is incapacitated
- Your spouse, your parents, or other family member has become dependent on you
- There has been a substantial change in the value of your assets or in your plans for their use
- You have received a sizable inheritance or gift
- Your income level or requirements have changed
- You are retiring
- You have made (or are considering making) a change to any part of your estate plan
Some things to review
Here are some things to consider while doing a periodic review of your estate plan.
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Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2015.