As life progresses it continues to change. While some changes may be small and have little impact on your life, others may be considered major and could carry heavy consequences. Therefore, your estate plan should be reviewed every three to five years to ensure it continues to accomplish whatever your goals may be.
Creating an estate plan is an important step to take when planning for your future. Unfortunately, most individuals mistakenly believe that once they have a plan in place they are done – no further steps are required. To those individuals with this dangerous mindset I say beware! While creating an estate plan may be a crucial step in preparing for your future, it is only one of many steps into the right direction. Once the plan is created it’s important to take that next step to properly fund your trust. An unfunded trust is equivalent to an empty safe – useless. Take the extra time to retitle your assets, accounts and move your real property into the trust. Once this is done, you can rest assured that your assets are protected and outside the realm of Probate.
Once your trust is created and funded, you then should practice being mindful. Be mindful of what’s occurring in your life and if you should find yourself experiencing any one of the following life changes, then it may be time to visit your estate planning attorney:
Divorce/Remarriage: If you are recently divorced and have an older estate plan in place then it is a good idea to schedule time to meet with your attorney to review your documents. Not doing so in this particular situation could result in your ex-spouse receiving your assets at death or your ex-spouse making important healthcare decisions for you while you are ill or recovering in a hospital. If you are considering getting remarried, then you will want to update your estate plan to be sure that your new spouse is provided for and that your future family is protected.
Birth of a Child: Your priorities change when you have a child. Whether it’s your first baby, second or third, you are going to want to them to be taken care of if you are no longer around. The proper estate plan will designate guardians to care for your children and describe what you will leave to them and how they will receive it. Leave your children a legacy and rest easy knowing they will have money to attend college, pay for their dream wedding or put a down payment on a home. A revocable trust has the ability to restrict at what age your children will receive their share and will protect their share against unsecured creditors.
Death of A Loved One: Sometimes the individual you choose as your beneficiary or nominate as either your Healthcare Surrogate or Durable Power of Attorney will predecease you. In the event that this occurs and you don’t have anyone else named in your documents, then you will need to schedule an appointment with your estate planning attorney to make some minor adjustments.
Inheritance: Inheriting a large amount of money can actually be stressful and overwhelming to those who wish to either invest it or protect it. It’s important to sit with a qualified estate planning attorney who can answer all of your questions and provide you with the best possible solution.
Call the attorneys at Wild, Felice & Partners for your free consultation at (954)944-2855.
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