Routine Maintenance

Sharing the following from It’s a great reminder that your estate plan (and financial plan in general) should be viewed as dynamic documents. Without proper and timely review, they can easily become useless documents that don’t do what they were originally intended for…


It’s a great accomplishment (and relief) when a person has all their estate planning components in place. It can put worries to rest and a family at ease knowing their Will, Advance Directive, Power Of Attorney, Life Insurance Policy, Trusts, and other necessary documents are completed and out of the way.

While it’s perfectly natural to take a victory lap upon finishing these tasks, remember that estate planning is a living thing. It doesn’t require the same care and attention as a child, or even your lawn, but it does require routine maintenance every few years to make sure it’s still as current and useful as the day you drafted the papers.

Every 5 Years or After Major Life Events

After experiencing a major life event you should review your estate planning documents and make the necessary changes. This includes:

  • Marriage/Divorce
  • Birth of a child/When children are no longer minors
  • Relocation to another state or country
  • Death of a spouse/family member
  • Medical emergency
  • Care required for special needs dependent or family member
  • Term expiration for Life Insurance Policy
  • Major purchase or sale (homes, property, business)
  • Personal factor/changes (falling out with family, becoming passionate about a cause or charity, etc.)

Even if none of these life event occur, a person should make sure everything is up-to-date, easy for their family and loved ones to locate, and in the proper order every five years.

The Main Aspects of an Estate Plan that Require Maintenance

The most important things to review are the people you’ve named to either carry out specific duties or those who’ll receive benefits. Are these people still alive, in your life, and trustworthy? Are your kids old enough to take on some of these tasks? The following checklist/questionnaire can help make the process quick and easy.


  • Are you still pleased with your choices for executor and guardians?
  • Have you accounted for the correct assets?
  • Are you still happy with the allocation or do you need to make some adjustments to your beneficiaries?
  • Does your family/loved ones know where to find your will?

Advance Directive

  • Are you still pleased with your choice of Health Care Proxy?
  • Does this person know what you want?
  • Do your general medical decisions in your Living Will still apply?
  • Is your Advance Directive ease to find in case of an emergency?

Power Of Attorney

  • Are you still pleased with who you chose as your POA?
  • Do you have the correct type of POA in place?

Life Insurance

  • Are you still pleased with your choice of beneficiaries?
  • Is your policy easy to find in case of an emergency?
  • If you have a term policy: is it close to the expiration date?
  • If you let your policy lapse: have you told anyone?


  • Are you still pleased with your trustees and choice of beneficiaries?
  • Do you need to make any additional changes to your trust?

Professional Contacts

Does your family/loved ones have the contact info for the following?

  • Financial
  • Legal
  • Medical
  • Other professionals from which you seek guidance and expertise

Digital Estate

  • Have you shared your online/digital passwords with someone you trust?