Many people in Duluth have wisely created a comprehensive estate plan. However, there is one critical error that can be made that could cause the carefully executed estate plan to fall apart. That mistake is failing to periodically review your estate plan.

Why review an estate plan? Simply put, it’s because as the years go by your life will change. For example, you may gain a valuable asset that you want to include in your will or trust or you may lose, sell or otherwise dispose of an asset that you previously meant to include as an inheritance.

Another major life change involves family. For example, after executing your estate plan you may have a child or grandchildren that you want to include in your will or trust. Or you may divorce — and most people who divorce do not want their ex-spouse to inherit their estate. Or your spouse may die before you and you might remarry. In this situation you may want to review your beneficiary designations on life insurance policies as well as who you have chosen as an executor to your estate or who you have designated as power of attorney. If the person you initially chose to make critical life decisions on your behalf is no longer able to fulfill that role — or you no longer want them to — without a new designation, your family will be left in confusion and possibly discord during an emotional time.

So how often should you review your estate plan? While there is no concrete answer to this question, a brief annual review is not a bad idea. Also, a review may be warranted directly following a major life event. Otherwise, a comprehensive review every three to five years can help you identify any changes you want to make in a timely manner.

Ultimately, if you decide to make any changes to your estate plan, you should work with a professional. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Estate planning attorneys understand the intricacies of executing or modifying an estate plan and may be a useful resource.