When should people update their estate plan?

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When Should People Update Their Estate Plan

Planning for one’s future in New Jersey is important. It is important to plan for events that may occur and to ensure that they will be protected if unexpected events occur. It is also important that people plan for one’s death. This is typically done through estate planning and can include drafting wills, trusts and having a power of attorney among planning for other aspects of growing older.

Some people may do this relatively early in life though especially if they have young children and draft wills to state who will be the guardian of their children. People’s lives tend to change over time though. Their situation can change dramatically and what they stated in a will that they drafted many years earlier may no longer be what they want or need to make additions to their estate plan. In these situations, it can be important to update one’s estate plan.

Situations when people should update their estate plan

Every change in people’s lives will not require them to update their estate plan, but below are situations when it should be updated.

  • If people named in the will pass away
  • If people have additional children not named in the will
  • When people marry or divorce
  • When children reach 18 years old
  • People who administer a will or trust is no longer willing or able to act in that capacity
  • The value of the estate increases or decreases dramatically or they acquire significant new assets
  • Prior to people reaching an age when mandatory 401(k) or IRA distributions start.
  • Too much time has passed since the last time the estate plan was reviewed

It is important that people in New Jersey plan for where their property will go after they pass away by having an estate plan in place. As important as it is to establish an estate plan, it is also important to update it given changes to people’s lives. When updating estate plans certain rules must be followed and consulting with experienced attorneys could be helpful.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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