Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

GillespieShields is committed to providing access to exceptional legal services throughout the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The firm is providing a reduction on all professional fees for new hourly matters through May 1, 2020. Please call our intake team today, 602 870 9700. Learn more

The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan in Arizona Regularly

Estate planning is a crucial part of managing your assets and ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death. However, creating an estate plan is not a one-time task. Life is constantly changing, and so should your estate plan. This is especially true in Arizona, where laws and regulations related to estate planning can evolve. It is important to review and update your estate plan regularly to ensure that it remains valid, effective, and aligned with your current goals and circumstances.

An estate plan typically includes documents such as a will, trust, power of attorney, and advance directive for healthcare. These documents outline how your assets will be distributed, who will manage your affairs and your preferences for medical care in the event of incapacity. Here are some reasons why updating your estate plan in Arizona regularly is crucial:

Changes in Family Dynamics

Family dynamics can change over time, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, or the death of a loved one. These changes can have a significant impact on your estate plan. For example, if you get married or divorced, you may need to revise your beneficiary designations, update your will or trust to reflect your new marital status, and consider how to provide for your new spouse or protect your assets in case of divorce. If you have children or grandchildren, you may want to include them in your estate plan and specify how your assets should be distributed among them. On the other hand, if you lose a loved one who was a beneficiary or executor in your estate plan, you may need to appoint new individuals to fulfill those roles. Reviewing and updating your estate plan in light of changes in family dynamics can ensure that your plan remains current and reflects your current intentions.

Changes in Financial Circumstances

Your financial situation can change over time, and it can impact your estate plan. For instance, if you acquire new assets, such as real estate, investments, or business interests, you may need to update your estate plan to include these assets and provide instructions for their management and distribution. If you sell or dispose of assets, you may need to revise your plan accordingly. Additionally, changes in your debts, liabilities, or financial goals may require adjustments to your estate plan to ensure that your assets are protected and distributed as per your wishes. Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan can help you manage your changing financial circumstances effectively.

Changes in Tax Laws

Tax laws, including estate tax laws, can change over time, and they can have a significant impact on your estate plan. In Arizona, the state does not currently impose a state-level estate tax, but federal estate tax laws are subject to change. If you have a large estate, you may need to consider the potential impact of federal estate taxes on your estate plan. Changes in tax laws can affect your estate planning strategies, such as gifting, trust planning, or charitable giving. Regularly reviewing your estate plan in light of changes in tax laws can help you minimize your tax liability and maximize the assets you pass on to your loved ones.

Changes in Arizona Laws

Arizona estate planning laws can also change over time, and it is crucial to keep yourself updated with any changes that may affect your estate plan. For example, in 2020, Arizona enacted the Arizona Electronic Wills Act, which allows individuals to create and execute a valid will electronically. If you have an older estate plan that does not comply with the new electronic wills law, it may be necessary to update your plan to ensure that it is legally valid. Additionally, changes in Arizona laws related to probate, trusts, guardianship, or powers of attorney may require adjustments to your estate plan to ensure that it remains compliant with the law.

Changes in Your Circumstances

Your circumstances can change over time, such as your health, location, or preferences. If you experience a major life event that affects you personally, such as moving to a different state or country or developing a serious medical condition, it may be necessary to update your estate plan accordingly. Additionally, if your preferences change over time, such as how you would like to distribute your assets, you may need to adjust your estate plan accordingly. Making sure that your estate plan reflects any changes in your circumstances can help ensure that it adequately provides for your needs and desires.

Changes in Technology

Advances in technology and the development of new digital tools can also impact estate planning. For instance, digital wills, asset tracking software, or online trust administration are all examples of how technology has changed the estate planning landscape in recent years. If you want to take advantage of these digital tools and incorporate them into your estate plan, it may be necessary to update your existing plan or create a new one. Additionally, digital estate planning documents must be kept secure and updated regularly to ensure that they remain legally valid and protect your assets.

Changes in Guardianship Designations

If you have minor children, it is important to ensure that your estate plan reflects your wishes for their guardianship in the event of a tragedy. As your children grow older and their needs change, it may be necessary to update their guardianship designation to reflect these changes. Additionally, if someone you originally designated as a guardian passes away or becomes unable to serve, you may need to update your estate plan and designate a new guardian for your children. Making sure that your guardianship designation is accurate and up-to-date can help ensure that your children are cared for according to your wishes in the event of an emergency.

Overall, staying up-to-date on changes in tax laws, Arizona laws, your circumstances, technology, and beneficiaries can help you maintain an effective estate plan that meets your needs. Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan with the assistance of a qualified attorney can ensure that it remains valid and compliant with the law. With careful planning and regular updates, you can ensure that your estate plan will provide for the people and causes that are important to you.

Our Expert’s Take On This

An estate plan is a critical decision for everyone, and it should not be taken lightly. It can have significant implications both on your finances and the well-being of you and your loved ones. As such, it is important to regularly review your estate plan to ensure it meets all of your current needs. With a well-structured Arizona estate plan that takes into account changes in family dynamics, financial circumstances, tax laws, local laws, your own personal circumstances, technology updates, and any updates in guardianship designations; you can ensure that your wishes are met effectively and without fail. 

Here’s our expert’s take on this: regular updates to an estate plan can provide extra peace of mind that everything will run smoothly in the event of anything happening to you or those you love.

Are You Looking for an Estate Planning Attorney You Can Trust?


Are you looking for a team of attorneys passionate about providing peace of mind for families? Look no further than GillespieShields. While we excel in various legal fields, Estate Planning is our bread and butter. We believe that every family deserves to have their affairs in order and their wishes carried out regardless of their circumstances. That’s why we fight tirelessly to ensure your estate plan is comprehensive and customized to your needs.

From navigating complex probate cases to determining custody arrangements for your children, our experienced attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way. We understand that the legal process can be overwhelming and confusing, so we offer private, one-on-one consultations to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.

So, if you’re ready to secure your family’s future and gain peace of mind, contact us today to schedule your consultation with Arizona’s premier Estate Planning Attorneys at GillespieShields.


The materials available on this website are for informational and entertainment purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.  You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments.  No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us

Phoenix Location

7319 North 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85020 | 602-870-9700

Mesa Location

1630 S. Stapley Drive, Suite 212, Mesa, AZ 85204 | 480-985-4000


Share This