When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

Individuals who already have an estate plan are off to a good start. If you don’t, it might be time to have one drawn up so you have a plan. Even if you have already worked with an attorney to create an estate plan, some life events necessitate making changes to it. It’s recommended to update it every three to five years or when one of the situations below occurs.

Marriage

After marriage, you’ll want to add your spouse as a beneficiary. However, you may also want to add them to other roles. Some of these include designating them as the trustee of any trusts you create, a healthcare agent to make your healthcare decisions, a financial agent if you are unable to do that on your own, and an executor. Updating the plan will prevent problems (and even lawsuits) in the future.

Birth or Adoption

Having or adopting a child is a major change in life. Naming them in your estate ensures your legacy is upheld. There are many things to address with a child. You may wish to select a guardian in case both parents die. You should also think about when to pass assets to your child. Think about whether assets should go to a spouse or you want to make assets go to a child. Take time to consider all these things and speak with an attorney for anything you might have missed.

Divorce

A divorce can be stressful and complicated. One of the things you want to do following a divorce is to update your estate plan. If you made changes when getting married, undoing those is likely to be needed. Those who have divorced and remarried should make it a priority to update the plan.

Retirement

Retirement is a major life change. While you might plan for it for decades, some don’t consider updating their estate plan when it occurs. Finances often change drastically at this time and you want to be sure your plan matches up with your new reality. Most who retire have kids who are older now so you may want to change some provisions and offer an inheritance to grandchildren.

Reach out to the experienced law office of Bell & Shah to learn more about estate plans and having one drawn up. If you haven’t updated yours in several years, now is likely a good time to do that as well. Make sure everything is in place for the future no matter what happens!

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

You don’t like thinking about your death any more than other people do. However, just because it is an unpleasant subject doesn’t mean it’s something you can avoid. Sometimes, people ignore putting together a will because they think that their children or spouse will automatically inherit property and money.

Sometimes, that might be true. However, when you don’t have a will, it doesn’t mean that your assets will go where you want them to go. One of the things you will certainly end up leaving behind is a lot of stress if you don’t have a will.

What Does the Will Do?

The will is a legal document that has clear instructions on what is supposed to happen to your estate. It includes all of the details on how it needs to be handled if you die or become incapacitated. The will contains your last wishes for what you want to happen with your belongings.

You want to be the one who has control over what happens with your belongings. You don’t want the courts to be in charge.

What If You Don’t Have a Will?

In the state of Illinois, if you die without a will, it is known as dying intestate. The intestacy laws will determine who receives the deceased’s assets if there is not a will in place. In Illinois, this means that they will go to your closest relatives. Types of assets that are included in these laws include property, retirement savings you own, and bank accounts. The laws are specific about what happens to your property when you die without a will.

If this happens, it’s important to know that those who survive you will not have any say. Even if you told someone that you wanted to give them some of your property when you passed away, it won’t happen if it’s not in the will. This can often cause fights between family members and friends.

Create an Estate Plan

The best thing you can do to avoid this type of problem is to get in touch with an attorney and create an estate plan. It’s better to do this sooner rather than later even if you are young and healthy. You never know what tomorrow could bring, so it’s a good idea to make sure you are as prepared as possible. It’s time to get your will and the rest of your estate plan in order. Contact the experienced attorneys at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today to discuss your situation more fully.

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