5 Reasons It’s Time to Update An Estate Plan
Whenever life changes, it’s also time to update your estate plan.
A life-changing event can happen in a matter of seconds. Having a will or a trust does not guarantee that everything will go as planned, or that life events always conform to our expectations.
As it has been said, “Constant change is here to stay.” Our family members pass away and new loved ones appear in our lives as well. All of these legal updates need consistent monitoring and modification inside of your estate plan to ensure your loved ones are taken care of properly and without added stress.
You need to have an estate attorney you can trust when life takes unexpected turns.
Printing up “cookie cutter” DIY wills or trusts can cause more stress and confusion when you actually need to use them. Additionally, an experienced estate planning attorney can help avoid any asset protection issues in the future.
Your plan is going to be dynamic, not static. You will need to update your estate plan as your life changes. An existing estate plan reflects your life during that moment in time, but it rarely stays the same.
This is why it’s so important to work with an estate planning attorney who offers a “lawyer for life service” and doesn’t charge by the hour every time you need an update. The right legal partner can help keep every asset and estate document up to date. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can make a detailed estate planning checklist and keep it up to date as your life changes.
At Thomas Walters, PLLC, we are committed to a solid attorney-client relationship. We can help you make all the necessary updates to your estate plan according to the changes in your life.
Why Update An Estate Plan? 5 Key Reasons to Consider
There are five vital estate-planning points to consider when you and your lawyer are reviewing your estate plan.
1. Death and Other Family Changes. Has somebody that you have listed on your will or trust died? You should check all the names on every estate planning document, including wills, trusts, and power of attorney paperwork. Every estate plan should make room for an alternate executor or alternate assets distribution in case this should happen.
The smartest thing you can do is update your documents to reflect the current situation in your life. An executor or trustee suffering from a physical or mental disability is a great reason to update an estate plan.
You might have a child that started using drugs. In this case, you might want to set up a trust to prevent them from squandering their estate share.
2. Divorce and Remarriage. Under powers of attorney, the spouse is usually the agent and executor in the estate plan. In this case, it gives the partner everything if the spouse dies.
Divorce renders this all invalid in the state of Texas.
If you get divorced and remarried, the new spouse doesn’t automatically take over the role of the executor or trustee. Brand new estate planning documentation will need to be filled out for the recent spouse to become the agent.
The will or trust becomes obsolete if there is no update to an estate plan. It’s a good idea to review your estate plan when a child gets divorced or remarried or if you start a blended family.
3. Asset Changes. A significant change in our finances is considered an asset change. It is an asset change if you sell your home and buy a new one.
Let’s say you choose to give your house to your child when you die. You put the address down in the will or trust and then sell the house. When you buy a new home, if you do not review your estate plan, the new house will automatically fall under the residuary clause rather than go to your child.
Change happens. If you’re thinking of updating your estate plan, it might be a good time to hire the estate planning attorneys at Thomas Walters PLLC to ensure that you have a deep knowledge of your assets and their role in your plans.
4. Life Insurance. Specific details you will want to know about your life insurance policy. Is your life insurance too much or too little? Who is the beneficiary of your policy right now? We must consider life insurance as a part of our estate plan too.
Life insurance proceeds are exempt from lawsuits and creditors, however, this assumes you manage the details correctly. Your life insurance policy could go to potential creditors if the beneficiary is not listed correctly on your estate plan. You would hate for the wrong person to receive your assets based on simple oversight.
5. Change of Mind. It is a good idea to review your plan at least once a year. Check that you don’t want to change who receives your assets often. Relationships can grow and can tarnish quickly. You have the right to change any documentation on your estate plan anytime you change your mind.
Why You Should Review Your Estate Plan
You spent your entire life earning your assets. You have the right to choose who gets what. The last thing you want upon death is for your family members to quarrel over who gets the house and the car, etc.
Lives can change drastically in just a short amount of time. You can lose faith in people while gaining new trust in the perfect power of attorney.
You should review your estate plan if you have a change of mind or heart. You must ensure that your belongings and assets go to the right folks.
Death, divorce, or a life-changing event? These are reasons to review your estate plan immediately. There is never a perfect time to review your estate plan. At Thomas Walters PLLC, you can update your estate plan without additional charge.
Why it is Important to Keep Your Estate Planning Up to Date as Your Life Changes
You might be waiting for the perfect time to update your estate plan. What if you died tomorrow? Sometimes things happen in our life without us knowing about them.
Financial updates, deaths in the family, and other events can happen that we don’t know about yet. It’s crucial to keep your estate planning updated as your life changes to ensure that your assets go where they should. The last thing you want is creditors getting their hands on any unclaimed assets.
How Often Should You Review Your Estate Plan?
If you’re wondering how often you should review your estate plan, it’s probably overdue.
What happens if you become disabled or pass away? A good estate plan is a way to care for the people you love even after you’re gone. You won’t be able to say anything about where your property ends up when you’re deceased.
Review your estate plan today with Thomas Walters, PLLC. Make sure your estate plan reflects your lifestyle right now. Our lead attorney, Leslie Thomas, can help ensure that your estate plan is customized to suit your lifestyle and assets.
Reach out today and know that you have the best estate planning lawyers by your side for life.