Even with a trust, your estate plan will likely take months to settle. You want to make sure your alleviate your family’s stress after you’re gone, and keeping things updated can go a long way toward keeping the process as painless as possible.

It takes an executor an average of 16 months to settle an estate, with times affected by factors ranging from probate requirements to financial complexities. You may have a plan in place, but times can change quickly. If you’re not going back to check on your planning documents from time to time, you might be surprised how out of date they can get in a hurry.

Changing times

Major life events can alter your plan in many ways, so it’s best to stay on top of your strategy when big parts of your life undergo change:

  • Assets changes: Anytime you see a drastic change in your finances is a good time to revisit your will. Whether you’re starting a business or selling one, you’ve gotten a big raise at work or maybe you’re in a bit of a rough patch, it might be time to clarify a few things in your estate plan.
  • Family differences: Anytime your family status changes, your will should too. The rules of inheritance that you may have taken for granted when you initially wrote your trust may no longer take care of loved ones after changes in marital status or when welcoming a new generation.
  • New location: Laws change from state to state, so you’ll want to make sure your directions line up with local requirements. Anything short of that could levy penalties against your estate, or at least hold things up a little longer in probate.

You’ll go through a good deal of changes in your life, and your estate plan should reflect that. Make sure you’ve got everything up to date, and you’ll leave your family with a little extra peace of mind.