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How often should I review and update my estate plan in San Diego?

An estate plan is not a set-it-and-forget-it document; it’s a living set of instructions that should evolve as your life does. Regular reviews and updates to your estate plan are crucial to ensure that it continues to reflect your current wishes, family dynamics, and financial situation. Here’s a guide on how often you should review and update your estate plan in San Diego, and what specific life events might trigger a need for an update.

Why Regular Reviews Are Important

Estate plans deal with many complex components—assets, beneficiaries, executors, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives. Over time, changes in laws, your personal circumstances, and your financial situation can render parts of your estate plan ineffective or obsolete. Regular reviews ensure compliance with current laws and that your intentions are clear and executable.

Recommended Review Schedule

  1. Every Three to Five Years: At a minimum, review your estate plan every three to five years. This routine check ensures that your plan still serves your goals and reflects any minor changes in your life or the legal landscape.
  2. After Major Life Events: Certain life events can significantly impact the relevance and effectiveness of your estate plan. Review and potentially revise your estate plan following any of the events listed below:
  • Marriage or Divorce: Changes in your marital status should prompt a review of all elements of your estate plan, including beneficiary designations, executors, trustees, and powers of attorney.
  • Birth or Adoption of a Child: Adding a family member is a significant event that should trigger a review of your will, particularly provisions for guardianship, and any trusts you may want to establish for your children.
  • Death of a Spouse or Beneficiary: The loss of a loved one who is part of your estate plan requires adjustments to your will, trusts, and beneficiary designations.
  • Significant Change in Financial Status: Whether it’s a major increase or decrease in your wealth, changes in your financial situation might affect how you want to distribute your assets.
  • Purchasing or Selling Major Assets: Buying or selling significant assets, such as a home or business, can impact your estate’s value and how you wish to allocate different assets.
  • Changes in Laws: Updates to federal or state laws related to taxes, estates, and trusts can affect the efficiency and effectiveness of your current estate plan.
  1. Health Changes: Significant changes in your health or that of your spouse/partner may affect your living will and healthcare power of attorney.

Implementing Changes

After reviewing your estate plan, any necessary updates should be made formally, with the assistance of an estate planning attorney to ensure that the changes are legally valid and accurately reflect your intentions. This may involve amending existing documents or drafting new ones.

Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan is essential to ensure that it effectively reflects your current wishes and circumstances. This not only protects your assets and legacy but also provides peace of mind that your loved ones will be cared for as you intend. At Allenby Law in San Diego, we specialize in helping clients keep their estate plans current and aligned with their life goals. Contact us today to schedule a review an ensure your estate plan meets your needs.

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