We are asked this question all of the time by our clients, as well as people in the community who come to our events. There is certainly no hard-and-fast rule, but in my opinion, you should look at your estate planning every one to three years, depending on your circumstances.
In my opinion, your estate planning that takes care of your family and loved ones after you are gone, or while you are alive but not able to make your own decisions, is probably the one of the most important actions that you will take in your life.
Unfortunately, on average, people will wait 20 years in between their updates of their estate planning. It always baffles me when I see people who did planning, but it was done at a time when their circumstances were completely different, and therefore currently their documents are virtually useless.
We encourage our clients to review or at least look at their documents every one to three years. So much can change in that period, such as health, finances, marital status, children, etc., that it is imperative to review them on a regular basis. Changes will probably only need to be made if you want to change the disposition or who is going to act as an agent, but there could be circumstances where laws have changed and you need to make minor updates.
It never hurts to pull out your documents once a year and take a look at them and see if everything remains accurate. You should also talk to your estate planning attorney to make sure that nothing has changed in the law that may affect your plan.
At Bellomo & Associates, we offer a maintenance program for most of our estate plans that, for a nominal fee, you can get access to our office and to our attorneys as often as you need to make changes at no cost above the original maintenance fee. For maintenance clients we also offer monthly presentations, yearly picnics and events, and appreciation gifts.
For those clients who remain in our maintenance plans continuously and without interruption, we also update documents and provide a 1% fee guarantee upon the death of the maintenance client. If you would like to learn more about this program or how you can update your documents, please feel free to give us a call and come to one of our weekly workshops.