Estate planning can keep your loved ones protected, well after you're gone. However, this is only the case when a plan is accurate and tailored to your situation. If you drafted a plan years ago – great job, but if you've gone through major life changes since then, it might be time to for a revisit. Be confident that your family will be okay by ensuring your plan is concise.
Review Your Assets
With age comes more wisdom and typically, more assets. Whether it's property, cash, jewelry or something else, you need to compare the assets you have now against those that you had at the time your will was created.
The court system requires a high-level of detail. If at the time of creating your will you had one home that you were leaving to a child and you purchase another home, it won't automatically go to that child too. The will must explicitly list each property. Any time you gain something of value, you need to update your will.
Notate Family Changes
If the dynamic of your family has changed at all since you started your estate planning, this is another reason for an update. For example, if you are recently divorced, the plan needs to reflect a separation of assets and a re-designation of your assets if it is no longer your intention to leave your estate to your ex.
If you've had another child, you need to update these family changes. Even if you have a child that has recently turned 18, you need to reorganize your estate to reflect that the child as an adult and not a minor, as this will determine how the estate is allocated to them.
Consider a Living Trust
Estate planning isn't just about living behind your assets, it's also about making things as easy as possible for your loved ones. If you've reached a point where your children are adults and you don't plan on making any more major purchases, consider this update to achieve this goal. Living trust ensure everything goes straight to the people you have designated on your will.
Without a living trust, these designees will still receive your assets, but they have to do so through a costly and sometimes lengthy legal process known as probate. For people looking for the easiest transition, this is the way to go.
Always look at the idea of estate planning as an ongoing process to ensure your family is protected. An attorney, like Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun PC, can assist you with reviewing your plans to highlight any necessary changes.