Avoiding common mistakes when updating your estate plan

Arizona residents with an existing estate plan need to review it regularly and potentially update it. Failing to do this regular review is a common error associated with estate planning, but there are also common mistakes connected to the actual review process.


First, it is important to keep in mind that reviewing and updating the estate plan is not just about the will and trusts. Other documents, such as powers of attorney and beneficiary designations, must be reviewed and possibly revised.

Roles and responsibilities

You should look at who you have appointed for particular responsibilities, including executor, trustee and your child’s guardian. Consider as well who you have named in your powers of attorney. Sometimes, people make the wrong choices about who should have roles in the estate plan. They divide responsibilities equally between adult children because it seems fair when there is really only one child who is organized enough to carry out duties, or they choose someone who is already too overwhelmed to do the necessary tasks. Even if you made the right choices in your estate planning the first time, this element should be reconsidered each time this review is done since circumstances and relationships can change.


Reviewing your estate plan is about assets as well. Over time, both what you own and regulations, including tax laws, may change, and this could indicate a need for a change in your strategy. Sitting down to review your estate plan could signal a need to also sit down with your financial advisor. In particular, make sure that you have completed beneficiary designations for any new assets acquired.

Life events

Finally, there are a few events that should trigger an immediate review. These include moving to another state as well as major family changes, including births, deaths, marriages and divorces.

Few people enjoy creating an estate plan; once it is done, it can be tempting to consider it a finished task. However, a regular review helps ensure that your wishes are carried out.