Having an estate plan can give you confidence and reassurance about your future. Documenting all of your affairs and providing specific instructions regarding the use of personal assets can also give surviving family members comfort and guidance after your death.

While having a plan is an excellent place to begin, you will want to periodically review and update the associated documents. Verifying that all information remains accurate and applicable throughout the years will prevent disappointment in the future.

What to look for

To improve the efficiency of updating your plan, you can look for specific areas that could have changed over time. For example, are the beneficiaries you named still in good standing with you? If you designated an executor, is that individual still capable and willing to oversee the closure of your estate? Is there anyone you wish to add or remove from your plan?

Other areas that may have changed include your end-of-life wishes and your opinions about the medical treatment you want to receive. If you formerly included a list of professionals including financial advisors, medical professionals and attorneys, do you still receive services from those named on your plan? Answering questions like this one can help you determine the need for updates and modifications.

When to update

According to U.S. News, experts recommend reviewing your plan every five to seven years. However, if you experience notable life changes prior to that period of time, you will want to make updates right away. Circumstances such as divorce, death, remarriage, the birth of a child or even a move out of state may impact your plan.

Updating your will and other estate documents does not have to take a long time. In fact, it can be a relatively fast process, especially if you have a professional help you through your review. Keeping your plan updated will ensure it continues to function the way you intended.