Are you one of the many people with “I need to have a will or trust prepared” still on your to do list? How do you know when it’s the right time to plan your estate? While many would prefer to avoid this subject, correctly planning your estate ensures your wishes are carried out and your family is protected in the event the worst should happen. Having a proper estate plan ensures you have taken care of those dearest to you during what is likely to be a difficult time. But when should you have your estate plan prepared? While there is no one size fits all answer to this question, here we look at a few details to consider when thinking about planning your estate.
You’ve Acquired Assets
If you have recently acquired significant assets, such as an inheritance or a new home, this event should be a catalyst to write a will or create a trust to hold your assets. These assets represent a change in your estate value, and any change in estate value whether an increase or decrease will affect your estate plan and your beneficiaries. It’s important to specify in your will or trust what you want to happen to these assets in the event you pass away.
You’re Getting Married
Marriage is an exciting event, and most people would rather spend time planning the big day rather than their estate plan. However, marriage most likely represents changes in your beneficiaries and how the people in your life will inherit your assets. It’s especially important to update your will or compose your estate plan if you’re getting divorced or remarried.
Subsequent marriages require careful estate planning to ensure the current spouse as well as children from current or previous marriages are accounted for in the plan. Talk with an estate planning attorney about preparing an estate plan to cover all important beneficiaries in your life.
Having children also dramatically changes the beneficiaries you may want to name in your estate plan. Ensuring children are protected and provided for into the future is one of the main concerns for parents. Even if you pass away without an estate plan, your children will be entitled to your assets, however the division may not be according to your plans. Be sure to utilize the services of an estate attorney when you have a child to guarantee they are protected.
Change in Life Circumstances
Sometimes life sends us a reminder that planning an estate is important. While all of the above events signify major changes in life circumstances, sometimes life changes are less positive, such as falling ill or getting divorced. Even moving country or starting a new job or business can be a signal your estate plan needs to be written or updated.
Even without any major changes in life circumstances, your estate plan should be updated with an experienced inheritance attorney every 5 years to ensure it still accurately reflects your wishes and beneficiaries. As you get older, you can also talk with an elder care attorney about a plan to cover your needs as you age. This helps to ensure your own safety and comfort, as well as the needs of your loved ones and beneficiaries.