According to a 2020 Gallup Poll, just under half (46 percent) of Americans have a will documenting what they want to happen to their money and estate after their passing. The results of this same poll have remained vastly unchanged since 1990. I
Suppose you are one of the Americans who have a will already in place. In that case, it’s imperative that you review it periodically and update it as necessary. Three major life events warrant an estate plan review; marriage, a new child, and divorce. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you review your estate plan whenever necessary. Their services are essential when it comes to making sure you update your estate plan and understanding your options and tax implications.
Review Your Estate Plan After Saying “I Do”
Whether it’s your first marriage or otherwise, you’ll want to review your estate plan when you walk down the aisle. You’ll likely want to add your new spouse or even stepchildren to your plan. If you are divorced and haven’t really reviewed it since your split, this is an excellent time to ensure your ex isn’t entitled to any of your estate if you don’t want them to be. Remember that if you die without a valid will, your estate will be intestate, and your new spouse won’t be automatically entitled to your assets. Likewise, if your spouse passes away before you do, you should also update your estate plan accordingly.
Growing Your Family
If you are growing your family through birth or adoption, you’ve likely got a lot on your mind and a long to-do list. However, don’t forget that you will also need to review your estate plan at this exciting time. You will likely want to add your new addition to your will or living trust. Many wills and trusts generally mention “afterborns.” Still, dealing with this issue in probate court can be expensive, which means less money for your heirs.
You may also want to revisit your estate plan when you become a grandparent so that you don’t unintentionally disinherit a grandchild. Suppose one of your children is a beneficiary of your estate plan but dies before you do. In that case, this is also a critical time to update your will and include your grandchildren if you see fit.
When a Marriage Ends
With approximately half of all marriages ending in divorce, Americans should be aware that it is critical to assess their estate plan during or immediately after a divorce. You might want to designate different beneficiaries on your life insurance, retirement account, and will or trust at this time. Many people also desire to establish a different person to serve as the trustee of their living trust, executor of their will, power of attorney, and health care proxy.
Reach Out to a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney Today
Often, estate planning is a difficult topic to broach. It causes you to face your mortality and to really think about how you want your estate managed once you are gone. For many, it’s also confusing and full of complexities. However, with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer on your side, you can understand your options and make choices in the best interest of yourself and your family members. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for further assistance in creating, reviewing, or updating your estate plan.