How often should I review and update my estate documents?

Estate attorneys are often asked by clients, how often should I review and update my estate documents? There are no hard and fast rules on this but there are some helpful guidelines. 

We generally recommend that clients under age 65 review and update their estate documents every 3-5 years. If over age 65, every 2-3 years is probably a better measure of time. However, these recommendations are in addition to the proviso that if a client has a "major life event" they should seek a review immediately.

As to what constitutes a major life event, that depends on the person but in most instances it would include a marriage, divorce, birth, death, retirement, or a major health or financial change in one's life. There are other, less major, events that could also suggest such an update. These would be matters such as starting a business or buying new real estate. As an aside, our firm has had two clients win the "LOTTO" and that certainly would constitute a major life event!

When working with an estate lawyer, you may want to ask if the lawyer charges for the consultation to review your current estate documents. In our firm, we do not charge any fee for that consultation and review--a fee is charged only in the event any changes are needed to the client's documents. 

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