Updating Your Estate Plan: Why its Important
Life is unpredictable and you never know when death or a debilitating illness could strike. Even if you don’t have many assets, preparing and maintaining an estate plan will help your family when they need it most.
Estate planning documents
Where do you start? Most start with a Will, but there are several documents that financial experts recommend that adults have on hand including:
Will – Identifies person(s) who inherit your estate and how it should
● Power of Attorney – Permits a trusted person to make decisions on your behalf in regard to your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. It may be even more important than a will under certain circumstances, especially when it comes to Medicaid Planning.
● Health Care Power of Attorney – Names a trusted person who can make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so
● Living Will – Identifies the medical situations in which medical professionals should “pull the plug” or refrain from resuscitation.
● Medical Release – Written permission to release your medical information to certain individuals
Hiring an estate attorney can help you and your family in preparing and administering these documents. Contact Wilson Law, P.A. for details.
Updating your estate plan
Once you establish an estate plan, you should review it every 2 to 3 years. People often forget to update their estate plan despite significant life events. This can lead to unintended results, such as your assets being distributed in a way that is not in accordance with your wishes, tax penalties and confusion and hostility amongst family members. A little bit of preparation can go a long way, so keep these life events in mind as they are great times to update your estate plan:
● Birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
● Child or grandchild reaching the age of 18
● Death or change in circumstances of a guardian named in your will
● Changes in the number of your dependents
● Marriage or divorce
● Death or illness of a spouse or family member
● Career change
● Change of life or long-term health insurance coverage
● Significant increase or decrease in your assets
● Taking on additional debt or lending large amounts of money
● Transfer or gifting of assets
Changes in federal and state laws can also affect your estate. It seems like a lot to keep up with, but having an attorney on your side to consult in these matters can make it easier. Planning for your demise is difficult enough and we aim to make the creation and maintenance of your estate plan as easy as possible for you and your family. You can take comfort in knowing that your family will be well prepared for when the worst happens. Contact us for a free consultation on estate planning today.