The Importance of Keeping Your Estate Plan Updated

Thinking of creating or re-doing your estate plan? It’s probably a good idea. Within the last two years, we’ve seen just how quickly the world can change and life (literally) can flash before your eyes. There has been so much change to grapple with in just a year and a half that many of us would think to be unfathomable. As life revolves around change, your estate plan must change as well.


Remodeling is good! For your life, social media, career, home, and your estate!

If you have already created your full estate plan (good for you!) then you’re well on your way to make any applicable changes to that draft. When originally constructing your estate plan, you probably modeled it originally off of the then current law (possibly a different state’s law), your living situation, and financial status. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people ended up utilizing savings that were meant to be passed down to heirs – and that’s ok – but reorganizing everything should be a priority!


What Goes into an Estate Plan?

It’s pretty simple, actually! An estate plan is not just composed of a will. It includes various other items such as: wills, trusts, powers of attorney, deeds, retirement plans, life insurance policies, and beneficiary delegations. 


Estate Plans are Not Just for the Elderly

Because America wouldn’t be what it is today without the great state of Virginia, it is important to look at your surroundings. Virginia is the epicenter for America and American history. It is also brimming with the bases for every branch of service and hundreds of thousands of members of the military and veterans. 

When men and women take the oath to serve our country right after high school, they instantly create their estate plans and wills. It is mandatory in the military to do so, and it’s not hard! Servicemembers create their own estate plans at just 17 or 18 years old. It’s smart for anyone over the age of 18 to have one in place just in case of an emergency. In an unfortunate situation, you don’t want some third cousin you’ve never met inheriting all you worked for, do you? All you need is a plan to start! 


When to Update Your Estate Plan

There are various times within one’s life when to consider updating your estate plan. Did you have any significant changes in your life such as: marriage, divorce, having children, tax changes, finding out your loved one voted for the other party, etc.? Time to update your estate plan! 

An out of date estate plan may negatively impact your family in a time of crisis. However, fear not! A thorough, updated plan that is created through research and help from an estate planning attorney should give your family peace of mind and protect them financially. 

It’s recommended to review your estate plan every three years or so, or to go over it with an experienced attorney (such as at Smith Strong) annually. Once you have a plan and are ready to sit down, give us a call! We’d love to ensure that there aren’t any gaping holes in the documents!



Special Thanks to Law Clerk William Taylor Gleason for his assistance with this article.

H. Van Smith
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Trusted Virginia Attorney Serving Richmond to Williamsburg