The fact that most people don’t have an estate plan often gets a lot of press. It’s true that the majority of individuals don’t have a plan, and this makes those who do have a plan in place feel like they have already accomplished this goal. They’ve done their estate planning, written a will, set up advance directives and done other things of this nature.
All of that is good, and it’s better to have done your estate planning than to have procrastinated it or failed to do it entirely. But that doesn’t mean that your plan is actually ready. Depending on when you did it, it could be severely outdated.
How long has it been?
There are two different ways in which estate plans become outdated. One is when there’s a dramatic and sudden change. Maybe a beneficiary passed away or perhaps you sold the company that you owned. Things like this are going to mean that you need to dramatically change your estate plan to reflect your new situation.
But the second way is more gradual, and it’s just when someone makes a plan and then neglects it for too long. There are some people who created an estate plan when they got married, for instance, but then they haven’t touched it over the next 20 or 30 years. A lot could have changed during that time. The estate plan probably doesn’t reference a lot of wealth that is currently owned and may not refer to beneficiaries who have been born since it was written, for example.
As a result, it’s important to know what legal steps to take to update your plan.