As a middle-aged or older adult, you have seen and experienced a lot in your life. You’ve experienced ups and downs, and ebbs and flows in your personal and professional life. There have been times of great achievement and happiness like your child’s birth, marrying your adoring spouse, receiving an exciting job promotion or opportunity, or finding success as an entrepreneur. As an experienced member of society, you have also likely weathered some adversity, like a divorce, unemployment, losing your home or untimely death.

These life-events have made you who you are today: an experienced and level-headed individual who knows when and how to take action. You also have learned how to plan for your future and the future of those you cherish.

Because of this forward-thinking, you took the time to carefully craft your estate plan with a professional advisor or estate planning attorney? And as your life has changed, you have reviewed and updated your estate plan accordingly? You may have, and if so, great work. If you took the first step and crafted your estate plan with professional guidance but haven’t reviewed your plan in a while, as your life inevitably has changed, you may want to begin the review process. Anyone with a robust estate plan to those with a single living will could benefit from an annual estate evaluation.

What should prompt a review?

If you’ve been thinking of looking at your estate plan’s details for some time, but just haven’t found the time, then now is the time to take action. If any of the following events occur in your life, it’s time for a review, at least of the highlighted section.

  • A newly birthed or adopted child or grandchild has entered the family circle
  • When a cherished beneficiary becomes a legal adult
  • When considering funding a beneficiary’s college education
  • Number of dependents changes
  • If your assigned guardian for your minor children dies or has a change of mind or circumstance
  • Your financial goals shift
  • You get married, re-married or divorced
  • Your spouse or any beneficiary falls severely ill or passes away
  • You change your life insurance of long-term care policy
  • Purchase a significant asset ( a home or piece of property)
  • If you take on liability or borrow a large sum of money
  • If your assets significantly increase or decrease in value
  • If you or your spouse are the beneficiaries of a substantial gift or inheritance
  • Your estate plan’s executor or trustee falls ill, becomes mentally disabled or dies
  • You move to a different state

Lastly, if state or federal law changes that would affect your taxes or investments, you change careers, receive a promotion, or start or close a business, it’s vital to update your estate plan. While the review list may seem long, if you don’t stay on top of your estate and suddenly pass away, family in-fighting and litigation is likely to occur.