Over the years, I’ve seen a few different recommendations for when you should re-do your will and estate plan documents. Some of the more aggressive services will say you should come in every year for a full review and re-do of your documents. While that is a great boon for your attorney (or the website that just populated your name into a form), it may be a bit of overkill for most people. But that also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a review of your estate plan. It can be as simple as a cup of coffee and a chat with your attorney.
You Should Do A Full Review Every 3 Years
It’s not a law or a requirement. More like a “rule of thumb” that we work with. But over the course of three years, a lot of things can change in your life. These days, it seems people change jobs every 3 to 5 years. With that timeline in mind, when you change jobs, your benefits change. It will likely remind you to meet with your financial planner. Hopefully, they will remind you that it’s also a good time to review your will. Especially if it’s been a while since you last had a full review.
The three year period is also a pretty good guide for people who have children. If you think about it, every 3 years or so, your children are moving on to a new school or about to. The younger ones are moving up from elementary school to middle school. Or the older ones are getting ready to graduate high school and go off to college. And next, those college kids are graduating and getting ready to start their careers. The goals of your will and estate plan are likely different for each one of those time periods.
Don’t Be Scared of the Review
Many times when clients set up their review, they seem hesitant. They are worried that I am going to recommend a total overhaul of the work we did. But in reality, the estate plans are often still appropriate for their goals. Instead of a full new plan, we can use a codicil to make small changes.
The full review doesn’t mean you have to start fresh,
it just means that you look at everything to make sure it’s right for you.
So if it’s been a while since you signed that will and estate plan documents, now is a good time to check in and get a full review to make sure it’s up to date and reflects your goals.