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Triggers for Estate Planning Review

Clare Hesbrook, Ilana Kacev and Jana Sosner

If you are like most people, once you have (finally) signed your Will and other estate planning documents, you probably won’t look at them again for many years to come, if at all. However, estate planning should be reviewed regularly, to ensure that it continues to be appropriate in light of your circumstances.

We recommend reviewing your estate planning every two years and more frequently when there is a major change in your circumstances (trigger event). You may not need to change your documents, but reviewing them regularly ensures that you do not inadvertently end up with documents that appoint persons into positions of control that are no longer appropriate, or otherwise do not reflect your wishes.

The trigger events for reviewing, and if needed changing, your Will, Power of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardian, fall into four main categories set out below, with some examples.

Change in personal circumstances
  • retirement
  • relocation, particularly overseas
  • career change
  • starting new business or becoming company director
  • engaging in high risk occupation such as consulting, medical services, building or any other occupation where the risk of being sued is high
  • bankruptcy
Change in relationships
  • marriage or commencement of a de facto relationship
  • birth of a child or child no longer a minor
  • separation or divorce
  • changed relationships with persons in control roles (executors, trustees, guardians or attorneys)
  • death or incapacity of a beneficiary or person in a control role
  • bankruptcy, or vulnerability of a beneficiary
Change of major assets
  • increased or decreased value of assets (for example after the impact of COVID-19 on the stock market)
  • acquisition or disposal of principal place of residence
  • change in composition of assets;
  • inheritance
  • establishment or winding up of family trusts or SMSF
  • acquisition of overseas assets
Legislative requirements or changes
  • some superannuation death benefit nominations expire after 3 years
  • foreign beneficiaries
  • trust law
  • superannuation changes

These are some examples only, and by no means an exhaustive list of trigger events. If you have any questions about your current estate planning documents, or preparing your first ones, we would be happy to assist. 

How we can help

We can prepare all necessary Will and other estate planning documents. For any queries about your estate planning needs, please contact Clare Hesbrook or Ilana Kacev.

If you would like to keep up to date with Alerts, Insights and upcoming events, you can subscribe to our mailing list here.

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