Many people never get around to making an estate plan. They continuously put it off. Then, one day, it is too late. Dying without an estate plan leaves a mess for your family to take care of. They should be grieving and adjusting to life without you. Instead, they are searching through your drawers and folders for information on different bank accounts and investments.

Even worse, they then need to decide how to split your estate without offending one another. Plus, they need to pay taxes on things you are leaving, many of which could have been avoided or reduced if you had an up-to-date estate plan.

Making an estate plan and never updating it also creates a lot of work for your children, and may give more than you need to the taxman.

When you get married or divorced, your estate will change. When you have more children, or if one of your children die, whom you leave your estate to will change. As you go through life, you gain new assets and lose old ones. The assets you have rise and fall in value. Perhaps you had two properties and planned to leave one to each child. The price of each property could change drastically, as areas become fashionable or fall out of favor.

Once you have an estate plan in place, updating it each year or two should not take a lot of your time, but it could save your family a tremendous amount of time and stress.