When Should I Make Changes to My Estate Plan?

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

You’re probably already familiar with the importance of an estate plan. It can protect your legacy, help avoid probate at your passing, and prevent family conflict, among many other things. However, what many don’t realize is that estate plans aren’t usually good forever and require periodic review.

When you create your estate plan, you’re creating your documents based on your current circumstances. But life happens, and situations change, prompting you to revamp your plans.

Life Events that Require Estate Plan Revisions

You should revisit your estate plan every so often to ensure the information is still accurate and reflects your desires. However, the following circumstances typically trigger the need to change your estate plan to adapt to the changes. 


A marriage is a life-changing event. Once you’re married, adding your new spouse to your estate plans can help ensure they have some power in the event of incapacitation or death. 


Like marriage, divorce is also a major life event. You may have crafted your estate plan during your marriage, and once your divorce is finalized, you realize this plan no longer suits your current needs.

You can edit your estate plan to remove your former spouse and replace them with other family members or friends of your choosing. 


In some cases, you may outlive some individuals you originally added to your estate plan as personal representatives, agents, or beneficiaries. Removing them from your documents can eliminate any hassle or confusion in the future. 

Birth and Adoption

When you have or adopt kids, you’ll likely want to add them to your estate plan. Without making these changes, state intestacy laws will rule the situation in the event of your passing. While these laws do provide for your children, you’ll have no control over the way your property and assets are divided and distributed. 

A Medical Diagnosis

A change in your health is stressful and can make you consider your mortality. In a situation like this, you definitely want to make sure your estate planning documents reflect your wants and needs, especially medical documents like your living will. 

Changes in Finances

It’s common to experience fluctuations in your finances. When you create your estate plan, your finances may look a certain way, but as the years go by, you may experience certain changes.

Whether these changes are positive or negative, they can impact the accuracy of your current estate plan, requiring some revisions. 

A Move to a Different State

To avoid any trouble in the future, you want to ensure your estate plan complies with state law. When you move to a different state, it’s a good idea to have a local estate planning lawyer review your documents and make any necessary changes.

Rely on a Wisconsin Estate Planning Attorney for Guidance

When you’re ready to reassess your estate plan, consult with a skilled estate planning lawyer. The legal team at Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C. can provide personalized assistance throughout the process. Contact our firm today at (920) 831-0300 to schedule your consultation.