Video: When should I update my Estate Plan?



So you did the hard part and made your Estate Plan, but how long is a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, and Advance Healthcare Directive good for? Attorney John Roth answers the tricky question: When should I update my Estate Plan?

The simple answer is: every 4-5 years you should update or at least review your Estate Plan.  This rule of thumb is based on relevant law changing roughly every 4-5 years. Also, your Advance Health-care Directive and Power of Attorney may not be accepted by health and financial institutions after they are 5years old. 

Significant life events may also change your life and an Estate Plan is based on a "snapshot" of what's going on in your life right now. You should review your documents to make sure that they still reflect your wishes if you:  

•  have significant changes in assets or priorities

• are living in a new state (Estate Planning law is different in every State)

• change a legal relationship (i.e.: marriage, divorce, business partners)

• have a birth/adoption of children or grandchildren

• have any unfortunate circumstances

• become the primary caretaker of an adult




There are many misconceptions about estate planning.  For example, while many people may believe they must avoid probate by using a revocable living trust, in actuality a simple will may suffice. Now that Hawaii has adopted the Uniform Probate Code, probate administration can often be uncomplicated, expedient and more economical than creation of a trust. Circumstances vary, however, and the perfect estate plan in one person's situation can be a terrible plan for someone else.  Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

This blog does not contain legal advice.  You should not rely on this to determine what is in your own best interest.  For legal advice, specific to your situation, you must meet with an attorney.  All posts are based on hypothetical scenarios, not the actual circumstances of real clients. 


is the founder of Hawaii Trust & Estate Counsel, a statewide Hawaii estate planning law firm with offices in Waimea, Hilo, Kona, and Honolulu. He has taught Estate Planning at the Richardson School of Law, and business law courses at the University of Hawaii—Hilo. He has resided in North Hawaii since 2008....MORE