If you live in California and you have an estate plan, you might assume that your work is done. In fact, it is important to review your estate plan every few years at minimum to make sure it still matches your goals and is relevant to your financial and family situation. There are certain life events that should also trigger a review.
There are many things that might happen in your family that necessitate a review of your estate plan, starting with any minor children growing up. Since children cannot inherit assets, you probably put provisions into place to ensure that someone else could manage their inheritance. Once they become adults, you need to come up with a different plan. You might still not want them to get their entire allowance immediately if they are young, in which case a trust might be a good idea, but you still may need to revise your plan. The birth of any children in the family may be reason for a revision as well. If anyone dies, marries or gets divorced, this could mean a revision is necessary.
Many financial changes will occur throughout your life as well. You may lose or acquire assets, such as buying a home, or open a business. Your assets might appreciate or depreciate. Your financial goals may change. Be sure to also keep a change on federal and state law as changes there could necessitate a change in your estate planning strategy.
There are other things that could make it necessary to change your plans as well, such as a conflict with a family member. Along with your will and any trusts, it is important to also review additional documents, such as powers of attorney and beneficiary designations. These are easily overlooked but critical parts of your overall plan.