Your estate plan determines how your legacy will be carried out. Regardless of how carefully composed, your estate plan still needs maintenance and regular updates as your assets, family, goals, and values grow and change. Having an outdated estate plan makes it much harder to honor your wishes during the probate process, so it is recommended that all people review and update their estate plan every 3 to 5 years or after any major life change.
Your spouse is often the cornerstone to your estate plan and administration. If you’ve recently had a change in marital status, that can drastically change the way your estate will be carried out. Legally changing your marital status does not automatically change your estate plan, so it’s good practice to revisit your estate plan upon marriage, divorce, remarriage, or after you’ve suffered the loss of a spouse.
One of the most common reasons people update their estate plan is when they welcome a new member into their family in the form of a new child, stepchild, grandchild, or an in-law. Similarly, when a child reaches the age of majority, it is important to revisit your estate plan as leaving assets to an adult child is a vastly different process from providing for a minor child. If you’ve suffered a loss in the family, it is also necessary to update your estate plan to reflect that and to make sure that all vital roles in your estate, such as executor, power of attorney for medical decisions, power of attorney for financial decisions, trustee, guardian and the like are filled by people who are willing and able to assume these responsibilities.
Any significant change in financial assets, whether positive or negative, should trigger a review of your estate plan. With changing circumstances come changing financial goals, and your estate plan needs to reflect that. It’s also important to revisit any charitable contributions provided for in your estate plan.
Your estate plan doesn’t just provide for next steps once your life has ended, but ensures that your affairs are conducted to your wishes and specifications when you are no longer able to make such choices for yourself. It is important to regularly consider who should be making decisions for you, both medically and financially, should you become incapacitated.
The law surrounding estate plans and estate administration are regularly being changed, especially regarding taxation. It is important to review your current estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure your estate plan complies with current law and maximizes any new tax deductions.
The probate process can be a complex maze of laws and rules which may prevent your loved one’s estate from being administered to their wishes. This process is still lengthy and complicated even when there are not many assets at play. Probate becomes infinitely harder when beneficiaries aren’t on the same page and are contesting their inheritance. Navigating these requirements and rules can be next to impossible without an experienced probate attorney advocating for your loved one and fighting for their wishes to be honored. A fixture in the legal community for almost 15 years, the experienced team at the Hankey Law Firm understand that probate matters need to be handled with sensitivity, professionalism, and the utmost compassion. Contact our office today and let us fight for your loved one’s wishes and your rights.