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When should I update my trust and estate plan?

Your estate plan is not something you can create, dot the I's and cross the T's, then put it in a drawer and forget about. In fact, trusts and estate plans should be reviewed every several years -- or preferably on an annual basis -- to ensure that they perfectly reflect the wishes and needs of the people they affect.

If you take the time to review your trust and estate plan every year, you might be surprised at the various details that may require changing. Most people know that they need to update their estate plans after a divorce, marriage or long-term, live-in relationship, but did you also consider the following reasons for an update?

New stepchildren: New stepchildren may also need to be included in the estate plan.

Moving to a new state: Different states have different estate laws, so it's vital to review your will and estate plan when moving across state lines.

Changing relationships: You could have a new friendship or you might have lost someone in the family, and these changes may need to be mentioned in your estate plan.

Changes in the situations of heirs: The personal situations relating to your named heirs could change, or they might fall out of favor with you, which could inspire a change to your estate plan.

Changing assets: The acquisition or loss of certain assets might result in the need to reorganize your estate distribution plan.

If you need to update your trust or make changes to your estate plan, it's important that you do this in a legally appropriate way to ensure that your revisions hold up in court.

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