Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Estate planning

Revisiting the estate plan

  • Updated
  • 0

Q: How do I know if my estate plan needs to be updated? Should it be re-written every few years to keep it up to date?

A: There’s not really any one thing that tells a person that their estate plan needs to be updated. Rather, it’s sort of like art: you know it when you see it.

It would be great if there was a flashing light that went off on an estate plan every time something happened that required a person to revisit it. Something like a check engine light in the car. Unfortunately, there isn’t a check estate plan light. Nope, a person has to keep track of their estate plan all on their own. Fortunately, that’s not as tough as it sounds as long as you look for the signs.

One of the easiest signs to watch for is simply when a person has changed their mind. If your will says John is to receive the home after your death and now you want it to go to Jane, it’s probably time to make a change. Let’s face it; relationships often times wax and wane and what made sense five years ago may not make sense today. There is nothing wrong with reevaluating your relationships from time to time and if something has changed that requires revisions to the estate plan, you should make them.

Another sign that could require a person to reevaluate their estate plan is changes in circumstances. Changes are sometimes difficult to recognize because of perspective. Our lives are always changing and it isn’t always easy to recognize the changes if you’re not paying attention.

What I suggest is that you watch for major life changes. Things like getting married or divorced or having additional children or tragically losing one. Perhaps taking a new job or moving out of state. Anything that could be described as “life changing” should trigger a review of the estate plan.

Other things that seem to trigger concern, although I ‘m not sure it should, are vacations and funerals. I see it all of the time. People start thinking about the estate plan after attending a funeral or prior to taking a vacation. I’m not sure why, but those two events seem to remind people to create or review an estate plan.

So there you are folks; things that trigger or should trigger an estate plan review. Fortunately, estate plans are drafted anticipating that things will change so a review may not require changes at all. Also, although changes may occasionally be necessary, an estate plan shouldn’t need to be rewritten every few years.

Just remember that although a good plan will grow and change with you through the years; you should still blow the dust off it every couple of years just to make sure.

Christopher W. Yugo is an Attorney in Crown Point Indiana. Chris’ Estate Planning Article will appear every Sunday in the Times. Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, Indiana 46321 or to Chris’ information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant, or estate-planning specialist.


* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Q: We have a sibling that has battled a drug problem for many years. He’s doing better now but our parents still have concerns. What can they …

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News


Entertainment & Dining

Latest News

Local Sports

NWI Prep Sport News

Weather Alerts