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.


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.


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 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!

Most Important Reasons to Put Together a Will

Most Important Reasons to Put Together a Will

Why do so many people put off getting a will together? The reasons can vary. Some people feel that thinking about their death is morbid and uncomfortable, and they don’t want to do it. Others may feel that since they are young and in good health, they don’t need to think about their will just yet. However, this is a dangerous mistake to make. Everyone should have a will in place. Below are some of the most important reasons you should make getting a will a priority in your life.

You Have More Control

First, you will have more control when you put together a will. You get to determine who will receive the possessions you have after you pass away. If you don’t have a will, you have virtually no control. The court will be the one that decides what happens with your assets, and they might end up going to people you feel should not get them.

Stay Out of a Long Probate Process

All estates will have to go through the probate process whether they have a will or not. However, when you have a will, there is an advantage because it will speed up the process substantially. It lets the court know how you want the estate to be divided, so you can be sure your final wishes are met.

Ensure Your Minor Children Have the Right Guardian

If you have young children, what will happen to them if you pass away? Typically, if their other parent is alive, they will go to that parent. However, if both parents die, who will take care of the children? If you don’t have a will that specifies what you want to happen, the court will choose from family members or use a state-appointed guardian.

You should be the one who determines who will be the guardian of your children if you have an untimely death. Having a will can help to ensure this.

Now that you understand some of the best reasons to get a will together, it’s time to get started. The first step is to find an attorney in Chicago who excels at estate planning and wills. Talk with the attorneys at Bell & Shah about the options available to you and get started with your plan as soon as possible. It will give you the peace of mind you need.

Ways of Stopping Future Generations from Changing Your Will if Your Health Declines

Ways of Stopping Future Generations from Changing Your Will if Your Health Declines

Having a will and testament is important, especially as we get older. However, if in the future your health declines, someone in the family may decide they want to change your will or contest it upon your death to get more from your estate. This is not something that often works, but, if you take steps now, you can prevent issues in the future.

Steps to Take to Protect Your Will While You Are Alive

Whether you are setting up a will now to make sure specific money is set aside for your grandchildren or to leave someone specifically out of your will, you need your will to be well-written. You want someone that fully understands the extent of the law to write up your will. This makes it stronger in the face of contesting. You also want to make sure that you prove you are fully competent when signing your will. Having a video taken of this process can go a long way towards proving your will is precisely how you want it.

Steps to Take to Protect Your Will Upon Your Death

To avoid someone contesting your will later on, you want to put in a clause that is called the terrorism clause, or the no-contest clause. This works if your estate is considerable, because then you can put in your will if anyone were to try and contest the will, they would lose out on anything set out for them specifically. If you were to take the time to prove your competence ahead of time and show that you signed your will without any outside influence, then adding in the no-contest clause is often enough to protect your estate.

Want Help Creating a Strong Will? Reach Out to Bell & Shaw Law Today

If you want to ensure that your will can withstand your future, then reach out to us here at Bell & Shaw Law today. We will help ensure that your will is safe and is not likely to ever withstand someone’s possible attempt to change or contest it later on. Contact us today and let us help.

Things to Never Overlook When Creating Your Estate Plan

Things to Never Overlook When Creating Your Estate Plan

Even young people should consider how to handle their assets after a life changing event. Your estate includes vehicles, homes, and anything of value. But it is also for life changing events.

Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for your family.

When you factor in a potential retirement account, life insurance, and bank accounts the importance of creating a proper plan is clear. Poor preparation leads to poor performance as the saying goes.

To say that real estate attorneys work hard is an understatement.

There are few things to accomplish before and when you meet with an estate attorney. This will expedite the process and ensure your investments are protected after serious injury or death.

Life insurance

  • This can provide an income replacement for loved ones, help expenses related to terminal illness, and pay for estate taxes.


  • You will need bank statements and brokerage statements. Make a list of insurance policies and debt.


  • This is a list of everything of value. Figuring out how much stuff you have is step one in protecting it. This is the value of your home, cars, jewelry, and other material things of value.

Power of attorneys

  • Medical power attorney will make healthcare decisions. Financial power of attorneys decides what happens with retirement and bank accounts.

Living Will

  • This is where you decide how your assets are distributed to your loved ones. Provide instruction for debt, fees, family living expenses, and other affairs.


  • If you need to manage assets for a dependent, reduce estate tax, or reduce delay in distribution of assets and a trust can hold all your assets decide if you need a trust.


  • Life changing events like marriage or childbirth, home buying, or other large purchase should be added into your plan.


An experienced and dedicated estate planning attorney can assist with the most important plan of your life. When you plan for your future you should plan for the whole thing. We understand what goes into planning. Call us at Bell & Shah Law, LLC today.

Redefining Your Estate Planning Following a Life-Changing Event

Redefining Your Estate Planning Following a Life-Changing Event

Your estate plan, which includes your will, any trusts you create, and other documents, is typically not something that is set in stone. This is because you may experience a number of life-changing events after you complete your estate planning that require you to make some updates to these documents. Here are a few of the life-changing events that could occur and how they could impact your estate plans.

You Get Married or Divorced

If you get married, you’re going to need to completely revamp your estate plans. While your spouse will typically inherit your entire estate if you die, you may not necessarily want that to occur. For example, if you have children from a previous relationship, you may want to make certain they receive specific parts of your estate. You might also want to leave specific assets to a charity or other organization. You may now need to create a trust or at least update your will.

Getting divorced is another reason to change your will and other documents. You may have planned your estate with the idea that your spouse would inherit all or most of your assets, and that’s no longer the case now. You will need to designate heirs for those assets and may need to designate a new executor for your estate.

You Have Children

Another major life change that requires you to update your estate plans is if you have children. If this is your first child, you may need to change much of your plan. If you already have children, there may not be as many changes needed, but you will still want to acknowledge them as an heir in the paperwork. You may also want to set up specific trusts for your children to ensure that they use some of their inheritance for college or other specific purposes.

Finding Legal Assistance to Redefine Your Estate

No matter how your life has changed, you need to make certain your estate is updated. You also want to make certain your estate plan is fully valid legally and covers everything it should. To that end, you will want to work with the legal experts at Bell & Shah Law to plan out your estate. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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