By Libby Banks, the Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC

Change is inevitable. Your estate plan might have been perfect when you first did it, but with time comes change, and your plan may need some updates. So, when should you review – and possibly renew – your estate plan?

Changes in Your Life
Have you had any major changes in your life? Has your spouse died? Did you get a divorce? Have you gotten married? Have your children gotten older, and had children? These changes mean you need an update to your plan.

Other changes that may necessitate a change include an increase (or decrease) in your net worth; receiving an inheritance; moving here from another state; buying a second home, rentals, or assets in another state.

Changes in the Lives of Your Trustees and Agents
When you put your estate plan in place, you made the best choice for who would take charge of your estate at that time. As time passes, that choice may no longer be the best. Has your agent or trustee aged or become ill, or passed away? Looking at who you named as your trustees and agents is an important step in determining if you need an update.

Changes in the Lives of Your Beneficiaries
Who are your beneficiaries, and what is their current situation? If you put your plan in place when your children were minors, that’s a clear sign that changes are needed. A beneficiary’s life changes may need to be considered in your plan: a beneficiary who is going through a rough patch in their marriage or has creditor issues may need protections for their inheritance that weren’t necessary before.

Changes in the Law
One change that can make a difference in your plan isn’t even something you brought about. Federal or state law may change, necessitating a change to your plan. For instance, in Arizona, the legislature enacted a version of the Uniform Trust Code in 2008. If your estate plan was put in place before 2008, you should update your trust because the law on which it was based has changed substantially

In addition, the federal estate tax exemption fluctuates, and is now $13 million per person, but going down in 2026. Your estate plan might have been put in place when the exemption was much lower (in the 1990s the exemption was only $600,000). You may have needed a complex estate plan to avoid the 40% estate tax. Now, you may not need that complex planning, and a far simpler plan can be put in place for your spouse and children to administer. If your estate plan was created before 2012, you should have a review.

If you know you need changes, or your trust was done before 2012, I am happy to meet with you for either a 15-minute phone consultation or a free initial consultation. Call us at 602-375-6752 or go to