Despite admitting they know the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan in place, overall half of all Americans don’t have one. If you are in the minority, meaning you actually do have an estate plan in place, you are to be commended. Don’t, however, make the mistake of thinking you can sit back and forget about estate planning from now on. On the contrary, your estate plan can only work as intended if it is current, meaning you need to update your estate plan on a regular basis. You also may need to review and revise your plan if you have a birth, death, or other important event occur in your life. How do you know when to update your estate plan? The golden rule is “When in doubt, check with your Illinois estate planning attorney.” Some general guidelines, however, may also be beneficial.
Fortunately, life is an ever-changing experience. The person you are and the life you lead at 25 is not likely to be the same persona and life that you lead at 55. In fact, In fact, you could go from being relatively broke, single, and childless to wealthy, married, and a grandparent in the intervening 30 years. Each one of those life changes – and many more — warrants a review of your estate plan.
There is no universally accepted rule with regard to when you should review your estate plan as a matter of course. To be on the safe side, however, it is best to review your plan every three to five years during your working years and every five to eight years after you reach retirement age. Why the difference? Because major life changes tend to occur prior to retirement age and, more importantly, your asset portfolio is likely to change significantly – and sometimes rapidly – during those years. Along with regular reviews, you should also update your estate plan when certain events occur, such as:
- ·Marriage – not just your marriage, but the marriage of a beneficiary as well
- ·Divorce – also applies to beneficiaries
- ·Birth – even if future born children or grandchildren are covered in your plan it is still best to include them by name when they are born
- ·Death – also applies to the death of an Executor, Trustee, Guardian, or anyone else who holds an important position in your plan.
- ·Move to another state – laws that govern wills, trusts, and estates vary by state
- ·Promotion or new job – likely means an increase in income
- ·New business venture – the business must also be included in your estate plan
- ·Major change in assets – small fluctuations are likely already covered but a major purchase or sale warrants a review.
If you have additional questions or concerns about when you need to review and update your estate plan, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.