estate plan

How Often Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Everyone should have a formal estate plan, but simply creating one is not enough. Everything changes with time and these changes could render your estate plan out of date. This can create serious confusion and numerous headaches for your loved ones if you pass away. Let’s review how often you should review your Virginia estate plan.

New Family Additions

Births of children or grandchildren are always reasons to celebrate, but it is also a signal its time to update your estate plan. These new additions can be added as beneficiaries and can necessitate some modifications to how your assets are divided. New marriages can also add new family members that may require adding more beneficiaries or even some asset distribution stipulations.

Family Subtractions

Just as adding new family members creates a need to update your estate plan, so, too, does losing family members. Deaths can mean fewer beneficiaries or the need to name a new trustee, executor or persons to handle your Power of Attorney or Advanced Health Directive. Divorces in your family may also cause you to remove beneficiaries and add/modify some stipulations that govern your beneficiaries’ inheritance.

New Personal or Family Circumstances

Several new circumstances can arise that make your estate plan outdated and needing changes. Among these can be:

  • Retirement – This is always a great time to review your estate plan and make changes that reflect new priorities or goals for this stage of life. This may include new provisions to guard your retirement assets or otherwise prepare for possible Medicaid Long-term Care in the future.
  • Children becoming adults – When your younger beneficiaries turn 18, you may need to eliminate or revise any rules in place that govern their inheritance. You may also want to help them establish a formal Power of Attorney, HIPAA Release and Health Care Proxy before they begin college in the event of emergencies.
  • Starting or selling a business – Starting or selling a business can make monumental changes to your assets, income and goals. A business succession plan is a good idea if starting a business; or new asset plans or beneficiaries for what you earn from selling the business.
  • Receiving an inheritance – If you receive a sudden windfall, you need to account for those new assets in your estate plan.

New Beneficiaries

You can name virtually anyone or any entity as a beneficiary of your estate. If your assets have increased, you may want to consider adding a university, hospital, community foundation, charitable organization or other worthy cause as a beneficiary of your estate. Placing some assets into a trust to provide ongoing income is a great way to support causes you cherish for a long time into the future.

The Passage of Time

Has it been several years since you reviewed your estate plan in Virginia? Then now is the right time to sit down with an experienced Virginia Estate Planning Attorney and take a close look. Much can happen in a matter of years that can impact your estate plan, including new laws, new taxes, new issues with retirement or insurance and more. Some serious restructuring may be necessary to keep your assets protected and prepare you and your loved ones for a more secure future.

Get Help from an Experienced Virginia Estate Planning Attorney in Newport News

An experienced Virginia Estate Planning Attorney from Promise Law can help you review and update your existing estate plan. Or, if you’ve been putting it off, now is the time to create one to secure your future and that of your loved ones.

If you’re new to estate planning, begin with a free, informative workshop – The 7 Hazards to Your Estate Plan. You can click here to register. This is followed up by a free consultation with one of our talented Estate Planning Attorneys. Contact us today to learn more.


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