Once you create an estate plan, you need to revisit it regularly to ensure it is still current.
If you let it get out of date and something happens to you, you will create problems for yourself and your family. Issues that you could easily have avoided through regular revision. You should review your estate plan at least annually and review it with your legal advisor at least every five (5) years.
Here are some other key occasions in life when you need to alter your plan:
When you marry or divorce
Marriage joins many of your assets with those of your spouse. Divorce separates them. Your total assets will typically grow when you marry and shrink when you divorce, so your estate plan needs to reflect the current state of your estate, no more, no less.
When you gain beneficiaries or lose them
Giving birth to children requires you to add them to your plan. For example, you need to put a guardian in place so someone can take care of them if you die before they turn 18 years of age. You likely want to ensure that some of your assets will pass to them too.
If a child dies, you need to remove them as a beneficiary and decide how to redistribute their share of the inheritance.
When you make significant gains or losses of assets
Family disputes can arise when individuals do not consider the distribution of your estate to be fair. Perhaps you have two properties that were of roughly equal value when you added them to your estate plan. Yet, if one property has tripled in value by the time you die and one has only doubled, your original plan of leaving one to each child will seem far less fair than you intended.
Getting legal help to check your estate plan is current can save a lot of time and money that might otherwise be wasted sorting out issues that arise when a plan called into action is out of date.