When to Re-Visit Your Estate Planning

You have spent days, and maybe even weeks, working with your attorney on your Estate Planning. You finally feel that you have addressed all of your concerns and are comfortable with who your belongings are going to after you pass away. Now, you can sit back and relax and never worry about your estate planning again, right? Wrong.

A common misconception among many individuals is that, once the Will has been signed, then there will be no need to return to it until someone dies. The problem with this approach is that life is always full of unexpected occurrences, both good and bad. Revisiting your estate planning before, during, or after each of these major life events is a prudent way to ensure that the Will you signed ten years ago still accurately reflects your current life situation.

For example, many of us will create Estate Planning documents when we marry in a “Sweetheart” Will format. This means that both spouse’s Wills are identical, with the only difference being the names of the spouses being switched throughout the Will. This can work great for both spouses, especially in the early years of marriage. But what happens if the spouses get divorced later on? Even more, what about if you have children who you don’t really speak to anymore, for one reason or another. If you haven’t updated your Estate Planning since you married, then it is time to review your Will and other documents to make sure your assets are going to be distributed to the proper people.

Revisiting your Estate Planning doesn’t just need to happen when unfortunate events occur in your life. Having a child, going on vacation, or receiving a large sum of money are also times when you should consider updating your estate plan. You might want to consider including a guardian for your child should you and your spouse both pass away at the same time. Or maybe, now that you have more assets, you want to rethink how much you leave to certain individuals or to whom you would like to leave your property.

Life is full of unexpected events. Some good, others not so much. Either way, when these events occur, reviewing your Estate Planning should always be a consideration at the top of your list. Doing so will ensure that you are prepared to expect the unexpected and have contingency plans for when they do occur. Your family and loved ones will be in a better place because of it.


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