The birth of children, death of a family member, second marriage, divorce, illness, name changes, etc., is by no means indicating a sequence of life events. Nonetheless, most human beings experience more than one of these in their lifetime.
Including your fluctuating – and hopefully improving – financial and healthcare situation are all big changes. They don’t occur in a vacuum. Other areas of your life are also impacted by a big change. For instance, the birth of a child changes your priorities completely.
Given that your life changes with time, your estate plan is also subject to change and updates. Granted, that not every single life event needs to be considered, but the big ones do. If any of the following events make an appearance in your lifetime, estate planning review is necessary.
First on the list, marriage
We are not recommending that this is first on the list for everyone but it is certainly one of the most popular ones. When one gets married in the United States, one’s financial outlook tends changes. It doesn’t matter if it’s you tying the matrimonial knot for the first time or the third; you need to review your estate plan.
You may want to remove an ex, add a spouse as a beneficiary, grant them a durable power of attorney, etc. Once the wedding bells have stopped ringing, it’s time to visit your estate planning attorney.
Second on the list, divorce
Just like gaining a spouse changes things for your estate plan, so does divorce. Often, this gets overshadowed among other trials that come with divorce and related life changes. However, making estate planning review a priority is crucial as you may not want an ex-spouse to be eligible for inheritance.
You may also not want your ex to still be responsible for making financial and/or medical decisions and instead give that responsibility to your child or someone else.
Babies! Adding people to your family
Whether you have a child biologically or adopt, adding a little one to the family means taking care of their financial security for the future. As a parent, you want to make sure they are taken care of when you are not around.
One of the most crucial decisions to make at this point is appointing a guardian. You need to appoint both short-term and long-term guardians to cover all your bases. Secondly, you may want to set up a trust for your child’s inheritance. Your estate planning attorney can help you determine how you can protect your child’s future with an estate plan.
The demise of a beneficiary
Death is one subject most people have their qualms with. It’s unpredictable yet eminent nature is difficult to face. We’d all like to have our loved ones always around us but unfortunately, that is not a possibility.
When a spouse, partner, child, close friend, family member or a beneficiary passes away, it also has consequences on your estate plan. This may involve naming somebody else as a beneficiary in their place, choosing a new executor or guardian, and identifying new heirs. Having an estate planning attorney guide you through the process will make it easier to make changes during your time of grieving.
Making a home
Purchasing a home is a big life milestone. Your estate planning lawyer will advise you that when you do buy a house, you put it under your trust’s name to maximize the trust’s benefits. If you haven’t done that yet, call your estate planning lawyer.
Estate planning review is also necessary if you refinance your home. Often, property is taken out of a trust to be put the mortgage in place. It’s important you fund the property back into the trust to receive maximum benefits.
Acquisition of wealth
Hopefully, with time, your investments and earning are fruitful. Since the protection of your wealth is estate planning’s purpose, acquiring it in your life means making sure it’s covered in the plan. This will allow you to get tax and inheritance benefits from the wealth. An estate planning review will also allow you to name and designate beneficiaries.
Sustain an injury or illness
Illness and injury are just as unpredictable as death. They are a part of being human. Whether you’ve sustained a serious injury or are afflicted with an illness, estate planning review is important. You may want to revisit your decisions for the healthcare proxy and your wishes regarding end-of-life decisions and so forth.
Crossing state lines
There may come a time in your life where an opportunity for business, education or family rearing may take you to another state. Since estate planning laws differ from state to state, you may have to revise the plan accordingly. The complex nature of the laws warrants the professional guidance of an estate planning lawyer.
In the end, life can get pretty complicated. Big changes can happen at moments you were not anticipating. However, this doesn’t mean that your estate plan should also be this complicated. When something significantly pivotal happens in your life, it’s a good idea to give your estate planning lawyer a call and review your plan.