Why It’s Time to Update Your Estate Plan

Remember the big, fat red/blue/green binder you spent time and money on to create? Yes, that binder, the one that has sat on a shelf or in a safe for the last three years? The one you haven’t looked at since you brought it home. That’s the one.

Isn’t it time for you to crack it open?

The binder is your estate plan, your plans for when you cannot speak for yourself. It contains your financial and health care Powers of Attorney (POA), living will, deeds, etc… But when was the last time you sat down and reviewed your plan? I mean, really reviewed it? Chances are, it has been years.

A lot has changed since your estate plan was created. You are older and looking at retirement. The Covid-19 crisis also got you thinking about things differently.

Elder Advisers has access to the necessary resources to navigate and answer questions you have about your loved one’s health and wealth needs.

Estate planning is not a one and done proposition. Due to the shifting nature of our lives, it only makes sense that your estate plan should be updated with some frequency to ensure it reflects your current situation and wishes.

Most people need to update their estate plans every few years because life, finances and relationships are always changing. Many changes happen over the years, and it’s essential that your estate plan stays current to reflect those changes and the impact on your wishes.

Many people believe that having an estate plan simply means drafting a will or a trust. There is much more to include in your estate planning to make certain all of your assets are transferred seamlessly to your heirs upon your death. A successful estate plan also includes provisions that will allow your family members to access or control your assets should you become unable to do so yourself.

The cornerstones to an estate plan need to include:

  • A will
  • Health care POA
  • Financial POA
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Guardianship designations (if needed)

You should get in the habit of reviewing it on a regular basis, annually is possible. When you look over your estate plan, you should consider any life changes you’ve experienced recently, such as:

  • Death of a spouse
  • Illness or incapacity of a spouse or child
  • The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild
  • When your child reaches the age of maturity
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Purchase of a new home or other large assets
  • A change in your financial situation or investments
  • Change of beneficiaries
  • Career changes, such as a new job, promotion, or if you start or close a business
  • More to a new state
  • Retirement

Begin by doing a quick, relatively simple review every year. Schedule a more thorough, in-dept review with your estate planner every five years or so. This timeline will give you an opportunity to review your finances, discuss potential changes with family members and work to determine the best course of action.

Any time you experience a significant change in your life, there is the likelihood that your estate plan will be affected. So, when change happens, check with your estate planner and take the recommended action.

Consistently reviewing and updating your estate plan can be the difference between a smooth administrative process and an unpleasant and possibly bitter experience. Don’t let this happen to you.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you want to update your estate plan. However, it is also important to do this in a timely manner. If you fail to review and revise your plan when you had hava  life change or change of heart for some reason, your estate could end up in the hands of someone for whom it is no longer intended.

No mater what your reason is for revisiting your estate plan, your estate planner will ensure it is valid and the changes you are making are compliant with all local laws.


Elder Advisers® is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney. We offer financial advice. We can work closely with your existing tax and legal advisors or introduce you to those we routinely work with. Nothing in this newsletter is intended as tax advice, a solicitation for insurance, or legal advice, and is merely provided as general information, and should not be relied upon for anyone’s specific or unique circumstances. Some content of this newsletter may have been developed by third party sources not affiliated with Elder Advisers®. If you would like to discuss your situation, we are delighted to help. CALL (800) 763-7930.