Leonardo Dicaprio is one of the most well-known actors today.  After 25 years in the film business, he has produced some major blockbusters like Titanic, Dijango Unchained, and The Wolf of Wall Street.  For years, the media and fans predicted he would win an Oscar but with each passing Awards event the Oscars went to other actors.  This year Leo got his win!  I bet you didn’t realize that you actually have something in common with ladies man Leo.  No, you haven’t won an Oscar and you aren’t making headlines.  However, just as Leo has experienced a major life change (definitely a career changing moment), you too experience major life changes.  While winning an Oscar maybe shouldn’t prompt Leo to revisit any estate plan he may have created, other life changes surely should prompt you to visit your estate planning attorney for a “checkup.”

So what types of life changes should act as a trigger when it comes to updating your estate plan (or possibly prompt you to create one)?  The following are some examples of major life changes individuals may experience during their lifetime:

Marriage:  So you’re getting married?  Hooray!  Marriage is the beginning of a long journey together, so why not begin that journey being fully prepared and protected?  An estate planning attorney can answer all of your questions and help build an estate plan that achieves all of your goals.  The most popular option is creating a revocable living trust.  This trust based plan will offer maximum protection and protect the assets you leave to beneficiaries from possible unsecured creditors.  Your plan will also come with other important documents such as the Assignment of Property, Last Will and Testament, Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate and HIPAA release form.

Divorce:  Ok, so your marriage didn’t work out – it is not the end of the world.  Yet, it is imperative to update any estate plan you may have in place.  Without doing so, the individual you separated from could end up with part of (or all of!) your estate when you pass away or they may end up making important financial or healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated.  In addition to updating your estate plan you may also need to change beneficiary designations and ensure accounts or real property are titled correctly.  An experienced estate planning attorney can help make this transition easy and painless.

Remarriage:  Individuals entering into a new marriage must also ensure their estate plans name the correct beneficiaries, that their incapacity documents nominate the correct individuals and that beneficiary designations have been changed – similar situation as when you get divorced.  The main difference, however, is that you want to be sure that your new spouse is provided for.

Children:  Children are precious and all parents want the best for their little bundle of joy.  A lot of parents create what’s called a separate share trust to ensure their children are both protected and provided for in the event that they are no longer living.  This type of trust allows you to set restrictions on when and how your children will receive their share.  For example, you can set a specific age in which your child receives a percentage and then select a second age in which they can begin to manage their own account.  By setting restrictions such as these, you can rest assured your child will be provided for and mature enough to manage the money they receive.  Additionally, the share you leave your child will remain safe against any unsecured creditors they may face and remain within the family for up to 365 years.

For more information on Estate Planning, visit our website at www.wfplaw.com or call (954)944-2855 for your free consultation today!

It’s A Wild World.  Are You Protected? SM