Many people put off creating their first estate plan. That’s a dangerous way to live, as there is no predicting the time when you or your loved ones need to rely a legal or health care power of attorney, a will or a trust or both.
Once you have an estate plan, you can sit back and relax. For a while, at least. As life changes, you need to update your estate plan to reflect that. At Wool Landon, maintenance of your plan is a high priority. Here are just a few reasons you may need to pull your estate plan out of the drawer and check it:
1. You have married or divorced
Marrying someone means that without any decision of yours, you have property to which your spouse has claim. Ending a marriage requires you to separate your property and revisit your estate plan. If there is confusion in your estate plan because your spouse has a claim on something you want to leave for someone else, or because you no longer own that asset because your ex took it in the divorce, it will cause delays and problems for others when you die.
2. You gain or lose family members
If you have or adopt a child, you likely want them to inherit something when you die. Each time your family dynamics change, you may want to adapt your estate plan to put someone in or remove someone from the inheritance. If an heir dies, you also want to redistribute their share. If you have just had your first grandchild, you may want to revisit how your property is distributed to benefit the new generation.
3. Changes in the law make your plan inefficient
There are numerous ways to pass your wealth on while minimizing tax, but the laws sometimes change to close loopholes or alter where specific tax points are set. You may be happy to pay more tax, but if you would rather see as much as possible go to your heirs, seek legal help from a qualified estate planning attorney to see if your estate plan needs updating.