When it comes to a will or estate plan, don’t just set it and forget it!


Your will should be updated when your personal circumstances change, which could happen at any time.  Your will is like your house: If properly maintained, [it] will last a very long time.


Some frequent triggers, Herzberg said, include changes in health, including that of executors and guardians; changes in laws, which may impact tax and legal strategies; and changes in state residence, which can also impact planning.


Attorneys and financial planners suggest clients should review their wills and powers of attorney every five years. When you should upgrade from a will to a trust?

  • When you have some significant assets (more than $500,000) in your own name.
  • If you have special needs beneficiaries.
  • If you have properties in multiple jurisdictions (multiple states or even counties).
  • If you have beneficiaries you want to control distributions to (e.g., distribute at ages 25/30/35).
  • If you have kids from a previous relationship you want taken care of.
  • If you may want asset protection (special trust needed).
  • If you are a big dog (over $22M if married), to save taxes


An overlooked trigger to updating your will is all the consolidation in the banking industry. If you named a bank as the executor of your estate and your bank has been bought or sold recently, you may now have a new executor. Be sure you know who that person or institution is – and that you trust its judgment.


Source: Leon LaBrecque, Sequoia Financial Group