Many of my clients often ask me how often they should check on their estate plan. I used to recommend every 5 years. Then I realized that, for most people, not much changes every 5 years. Then I used to recommend every 10 years. However, that seemed to be too long. Now I tend to recommend at least every 7 years.
Just like anything in life, circumstances change. Therefore, I tell clients to take a look at their estate plan every 7 years or sooner if there are any major life changes. Also, I definitely recommend revisiting the plan if they wish to make any significant changes such as choosing different trustees, changing their executives, choosing different agents for power of attorney, etc.
Most people go to their doctor regularly for a physical exam. Some people go every year and some people go every other year. Of course, some people never go. I tell clients that reviewing their legal documents is very similar to reviewing their physical health. If you have a physical examination and everything checks out, that doesn't mean you should never go for another medical physical examination. Every couple of years or so, you should go to your doctor to check on your overall health. The same goes for your "legal health" - you want to make sure your legal house is in order every few years.
One thing I have found is that certain legal documents sometimes get "stale." That is not to say they are not legal. So while a living trust and/or a will can last for many many years without any problem, I have found, as a practical matter, that some places will start to give my clients a hard time if they present a power of attorney or any health care documents that are more than 10 years old. They will often be asked, "Do you have anything newer than this?" As such, at the very least, I think you should renew your durable power of attorney and health care documents every 7 years or so. Those are some general guidelines that I provide to my clients. I hope you found this helpful.
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