When Should Your Estate Plan be Reviewed?

You completed your estate plan five years ago. Your spouse inquires over dinner if the plan should be reviewed. What is the answer?

There is no hard and fast rule. Schmidt & Long uses a three to five year follow-up, but other firms and attorneys likely use a different timeline. Generally, for empty nest couples that do not plan on having additional children but are still working would receive a follow-up four to five years after signing their estate plan. A couple planning on having children would receive a follow-up three years after signing their estate plan. An elderly adult who is retired would also receive a three year follow-up.

When signing an estate plan, we advise our client’s to alert us to any major life changes. What constitutes a major life change? Birth, death and a large change in circumstances, such as winning the lottery, are all major life changes. But, for particular client’s, other events may constitute major life changes. Someone may be the beneficiary of their parent’s estate, which is substantial. Thus, when this individual’s parents pass away, the individual’s estate plan should be reviewed in light of their large inheritance. Alternatively, a client may own a business. The business prospers and the client becomes wealthy. His/her estate plan should be reviewed in light of their changed circumstances due to their booming business. Thus, there are major life changes for each individual, but it is possible that certain individuals have certain major life changes that are particular to that person.

We also understand that our client’s may not remember to alert us to major life changes! After all, calling your attorney is not the first thing on your mind after the death of a family member. Nor are we a priority after the birth of a child. And we understand that! This is why we follow-up three to five years after. This ensures that, despite not following up with us, we make sure our client’s estate plans are updated and proper.

To review your estate plan, or establish an estate plan, please contact Benjamin Long of Schmidt & Long.