How often should you update your legal documents — your wills, your power of attorney, your living will, your living trust if you have one?

My rule of thumb is every five years you need to be pulling out those documents and looking at them. Some attorneys would say every two years, but I think five years is sufficient to get them out, read them and check in with your attorney if there have been any statute changes that you need to take a look at.

You should also update them if you have a major life event in your family. That would be a marriage, a divorce, a birth or a death. Typically your will covers things like births and deaths, but you still may need to update some things, especially with marriages and divorces in the family.

I’d say the No. 1 mistake people make with their legal documents is not keeping them up to date. So get out those legal documents, take a look at them. Stay on top of them.

To help you stay organized, I have created a Vital Records Worksheet, which will keep your documents in order. When you pass away, your executor will be equipped with everything he or she needs to handle your affairs.

Vital Records Worksheet