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How frequently should wills and trusts be revisited?

Some Georgia residents think of estate planning as a one-time event that can be completed and then checked off of the to-do list. In reality, it's absolutely critical to review wills and trusts periodically to ensure the provisions laid out within still apply. Life changes, and those changes often bring about a shift in how to address estate planning needs. 

A good rule of thumb is to sit down and review wills and other estate planning documents every five years. If there's been a major life event like a marriage, divorce, death or the birth of new family members, that event should trigger a review, even if only a couple of years have passed since the last one. Fortunately, checking over the provisions in these documents takes very little time. Even better, the more frequently one goes through the process, the more familiar they will be with the documents and the faster the review can be completed. 

Be sure to check that the named beneficiaries are still the individuals intended to inherit. The same goes for people listed as power of attorney or designated with carrying out health directives. If a change needs to be made, be sure to discuss the matter with the individuals affected. Few things will prompt a family feud faster than discovering that there's been a change in a will or other estate document. 

When the time comes to review wills or other estate planning documents, schedule an appointment with a Georgia estate planning attorney to ensure the changes are properly indicated. It's also helpful to have an attorney keep copies of the updated documents on file. That can help in the event that a will is disputed down the line. 

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At Hodges Law Firm, we handle a wide range of legal issues for clients throughout the Atlanta area, including elder law, estate planning, probate, Medicaid planning and protection, asset protection, litigation, and business law and services. We are knowledgeable in the law and understand the real life implications of legal actions.