An estate plan may sound fancy and unnecessary, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you own a house or car or have money in a bank account, then you need a will. Contrary to popular belief, a will is just one piece of a larger estate plan. During the Covid pandemic, many people discovered just how important a healthcare power of attorney could be for yourself and those you love.
Estate plans commonly include the following legal documents:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Listed Beneficiaries
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Guardianship Designations
Regular review of your existing estate plan is vital and the best way to ensure your final wishes are respected. Whether you are a young adult or beginning to plan retirement, you should consider creating an estate plan. If you already have an established estate plan, it can be tempting to create it and forget about it. This is unwise. Your estate plan should be updated every three to five years, depending on life events. By reviewing your estate plan with your attorney every three to five years, you can ensure your document is accurate and there haven’t been any changes to the law since your document was drafted.
3 Signs it’s Time to Update Your Estate Plan
While we advise reviewing your estate plan at least once every five years, there are times when you need to address outdated information or make changes immediately. You can meet with an attorney to review your estate plan and make changes accordingly.
If you’ve experienced any of the following life events, you need to schedule a view of your estate plan with your attorney:
- You’re Recently Married or Divorced: If you’ve recently gotten married or divorced, your spouse will automatically inherit your property upon your death. If you have family heirlooms or other assets you would like to leave to family members other than your spouse, you will need to put this in your will. During a divorce, your will needs to remain as is because your spouse is entitled to inherit until your divorce is finalized. If you’re recently divorced, you will need to change the terms of your will to reflect your marital status. Leaving your ex in your will could cause confusion in the event of your death.
- You’ve Added Children to Your Family: Whether you’ve added biological or adopted children to your family, you will need to update your estate plan to include additional beneficiaries and heirs. A child, like a spouse, automatically inherits an individual’s assets and property. If you want specific assets to pass to your children, you would need to include them in your estate plan. If you and your child’s other parent are not married, then you will need to ensure plans for your children are clearly outlined. Because you are not married to their other parent, they would not stand to inherit your remaining property. If your children are underage, you would also need to include guardianship information in your will – especially if you are a single parent without a co-parent.
- Large Purchases and Windfalls: If you’ve purchased real estate or experienced a windfall, you need to decide what will happen to those assets. There are tax benefits to adding these assets to a trust. A family law attorney can help you create a trust or ensure your wishes are outlined for your beneficiaries. Your loved ones will appreciate your efforts to prevent confusion and protect the assets you’ve worked hard to secure.
None of us knows what the future holds, but we do know that we will all reach the end of our time here. When that day comes, you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are prepared.
Call the Estate Planning Professionals at Cianci Law, PC
The attorneys at Cianci Law, PC can help you finalize your estate plan, whether you’re creating a new document or making changes to an existing one. Our seasoned attorneys have many years of legal experience helping clients from every walk of life. Our personalized approach to family law makes our firm the choice of many families throughout the area. If you’re not sure where to start, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
Put more than six decades of combined legal experience on your side. Call Cianci Law, PC at (916) 797-1575 or send us a message online to get started today.