When it comes to estate planning, the most important thing that any New York resident can do is to complete the process. Considering how many individuals have yet to complete their estate planning, the completion of the task in and of itself is an excellent achievement. However, what many people do not realize is how vital it is to keep their estate plans up to date.

Indeed, simply creating an estate plan is not enough. One must remember that the world, the laws, our families and our life circumstances are always changing. Any time a significant change takes place — like a divorce or a death in the family — it may be time to review one’s estate planning documentation to bring things up to date. For example, if you go through a divorce and forget to revise your will, your ex-spouse might still be set to inherit your assets when you might prefer to have someone else inherit them.

Other things that could trigger an estate plan revision have to do with changes to the law. For example, in 2005, the estate tax exemption was $1.5 million, but now it is $5.43 million. This shift could be a reason for many people to change their estate plan. A move to another state might also create the need to revise one’s estate plan because different states have different laws and different tax codes.

Because of the many changes that can happen over time, New York residents may want to meet with an estate planning attorney every year, just to make sure their estate planning is up to date. An attorney will know what questions to ask you to determine what might need to be adjusted.

Source: blogs.wsj.com, “Why Estate Planning Can’t Be ‘Once and Done’” Eleanor Blayney, Jan. 08, 2015