Many people think that they can write out a will and get an estate plan together, then forget about it. This isn't anywhere near the truth. Instead, you need to review your estate plan at least annually.
On top of the annual review, there are other instances that will require you to check your will. Knowing what should trigger an estate plan review can help to ensure that it accurately represents your current wishes. Here are a few to consider:
If your financial situation changes
Financial changes, which can include acquiring new assets or selling off assets, require that you review your will. It won't do your loved ones any good to have a will that is full of assets that you don't own and that does not include the assets you do own. It is a good idea to review your will if you change jobs or retire.
If your family composition changes
Changes to your family composition, which can include having children or getting married, require you to check your estate plan. You should also do this when your minor children move into adulthood and if you get divorced. If you have grandchildren named in your estate plan, make sure that you update things when you have new ones. If your spouse passes away, you will need to review the estate plan.
If you move to a new location
Moving is one reason to update your will. This isn't such a big deal if you are staying in the same area, but if you are moving across state lines, checking out your will might be necessary. You need to ensure that your will meets the requirements of the jurisdiction that coincides with your permanent address or residency. It is also a good idea to double check things at this point if your home is an asset in the estate plan.
If you have any changes in what you want
You should update your estate plan as soon as you realize there is something that you want to change. Some of the changes that you might need to make include taking out an heir, adding an heir, changing your powers of attorney designations or updating information about end-of-life medical care.
Remember that you need to update other items when you update your estate plan. This includes the beneficiary on your life insurance policy and the payable on death designation on your bank account.