The 5 Events That Should Cause You to Update Your Estate Planning

By Lane Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

After working as an Idaho estate planning attorney for nearly 20 years I can tell you that I am passionate about estate planning. I’ve seen the many ways that it can help individuals and families avoid problems. For this reasons, I believe that everyone should have a valid Estate Plan in place. Once a person has gone to the trouble of creating an estate plan, the should then do everything they can to keep their Estate Plan updated. While this makes sense I find that my clients don’t really know when they should update their Estate Planning documents. To help my clients, and now to help you, here is a specific list of 5 events that could happen during your life that should cause you to review and possible update your Estate Planning documents.

  1. Someone Being Born

The first triggering event is when a potential heir/beneficiary is born. Really, it should be an automatic thing that when you have a child or grandchild born, you should consider updating your Estate Plan. Whether it is your child or some other potential beneficiary that is born, if it is a person you might choose to give a portion of your estate to, then updating your documents is vital.

While it’s true that some states, including Idaho, have statutes to protect children that are omitted from and estate plan, the law is always changing. Why would you leave it up to chance anyway? If you fail to name a person who is born later in your life they may not receive any portion of your money, property or assets when you are gone. This is specifically true for your grandchildren. There aren’t any statues that will protect them if you forget to name them. So if you create a Last Will and Testament or a trust or some other estate planning document and then have a possible heir/beneficiary born, it’s time to update your Estate Plan. Doing so allows you to make sure that the people you really want to receive your property will get it.

  1. A Death

The second triggering event is a death of a family member or loved one. This could be the death of a spouse, or child or grandchild or some other potential person you have named in your estate planning documents. Essentially, if you have named someone to receive property or do something for you such as ser as your Personal Representative or power of attorney, you need to update your estate plan.

  1. A Divorce

The next triggering event should be obvious. A divorce will cause many changes in your life. If you have a written estate plan and then either you or someone named in your written plan is divorced, you may need to update your plan. A divorce is always an automatic reason to review and possibly update your Estate Plan.

  1. A Move

The next triggering event is often overlooked. If you or a person named in your written estate plan moves away, you may need to make some changes. It is true that most states will honor a written Last Will and Testament so long as it was valid in the state where you got it. However not all states do. If you moved it is always a good reason to review your Estate Plan.

Moreover, if someone you’ve named in your estate planning documents, such as an heir/beneficiary or as an appointment moves way, your plans may change. As an example, if you gave a Power of Attorney to one of your children to help you with your health care and then they move to another state they may not be able to fulfill those responsibilities. If this happens, it may be wise for you to name somebody else with that particular Power of Attorney.

  1. The Passage of Time

The final triggering event that may cause you to update your written estate plan is the passage of time. Life is not concrete. It is always changing. Any of our circumstances could change for any of us at any time. It’s very possible that what you thought was a good Estate Plan a few years ago may now not look like such a good idea. So with the passage of time, and we suggest nor more than 5 years, look your written estate plan over. You will likely immediately see the changes you need to make.


If you do not have an estate plan in place, or if you have questions about estate planning we can help. When it comes to estate planning or probate you should never try to do it alone. If you have questions for yourself or for your family and loved ones, call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

Contact Information