When you decide that it is time to sit down with an estate planning attorney and make some decisions about the future there is a lot to consider. You must evaluate where you are financially, assess the needs of your family, consider the tax ramifications of your actions, and address the matter of medical preferences. This is all part of wise and prudent long term planning, and when all of your intentions coalesce into a solid plan you feel a particular sense of closure and the peace of mind that comes with having completed a somewhat challenging and even emotional task.
It is indeed satisfying to have an estate plan in place, but from the very start the matter should be seen as an ongoing responsibility that needs to be tended to as you go along. Things are in constant flux, and many of them are out of your control. For example, if you or someone in your family was to suffer a serious injury or fall terminally ill, it could have a direct impact on some of the details of your estate plan. You may not have planned for incapacitation but suddenly recognize the need to have this type of contingency in place.
Additionally, the financial elements of your estate plan should be viewed as dynamic and subject to continual alteration. Things change within your family, and this can cause the need for updates to your plan. The economy is clearly unpredictable, and what may have made sense when you originally drew up the plan may need to be revisited in light of the current economic instability.
Estate planning is less of an action and more of a process. It is directly impacted by the lives that we lead and the times within which we live, and the inevitability of change is an embedded part of this process.