2017 is upon us, and you know what that means – it’s time to get serious about those new years resolutions. Whether you’re taking up a new hobby or giving up an old habit, January is a great time to commit to personal improvement. This year, commit to planning for your loved ones by making sure that your estate plan is current. Not sure if you need to revise? The following list makes it easy to tell if you do.
- Just married
First off–congratulations! I know, I know … after months of planning a wedding, the last thing on your mind is your will and powers of attorney, but don’t put off these important documents. Naming your spouse as an agent on your powers of attorney will allow them to assist with medical and financial decisions in the event that you are unable to do so. Further, providing for your spouse in your will ensures a smoother transition when that time comes.
- Recently divorced
Although not as joyful as the first event, it is just as important to update your estate plan if you are divorced. Although an ex-spouse is automatically disqualified as a beneficiary, you will want to make sure that you name a new Executor, if necessary, and update your primary beneficiary. You will also want to update your powers of attorney and possibly name another family member or friend to assist you if it becomes necessary.
- Expanding family
Welcoming a new baby is both exciting and exhausting, and the last thing you want to think about is how to provide for that new arrival if you suddenly are no longer around. However, it is vitally important that you develop a plan for your child in the event that something happens to you. Naming a guardian and adding trust language to your last will and testament will guarantee that your minor children are provided for according to your wishes for years to come.
- Estate growth
This is a great problem to have! If your assets are growing, it may be time re-evaluate your estate plan. A simple will and testament can ensure that your wishes are carried out after death, but in the case of larger estates, a revocable trust may be more appropriate. These documents allow you to organize your assets during your lifetime and simplify the process of dealing with your estate upon death.
- Executors/trustees agin
This is one of the most common reasons people update an estate plan. Often, the individuals named to carry out your wishes are no longer able to serve that role. It is important to review your estate plan every 5 to 8 years to verify that the individuals you have named to serve are still able to do so. Perhaps you previously named your parents as successor Executors and Trustees, but now that would be a burden on them. Conversely, some appropriate Executors and Trustees may have been minors when you initially developed your estate plan, but are now of age to step in and serve as your fiduciary when necessary.
There are many reasons why an individual may choose to update his or her estate plan. These are just a few of them. If you recently experienced a significant life event, or if it has been a while since you developed your estate plan, it may be time to take a fresh look. Contact Weisinger Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.