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!

Understanding the Succession Plan for Your Will

Understanding the Succession Plan for Your Will

Do you know how to leave your belongings in a way that ensures they will not be distributed the way you don’t want them distributed? The first place to start is with your will. There are many different ways people use wills, and not all of them accomplish what an owner might like for their property after death.

It’s less likely that you’ll be concerned about this because you’re young and healthy, but it could become an issue if something were to happen unexpectedly. What would happen if one day you weren’t able to make decisions anymore? Will everyone know exactly what to do regarding your possessions and assets?

Make Your Wishes Known In Your Will

Leaving a will is the only way to ensure your wishes are followed after death. In other words, who you want to handle your property after you pass away is something you can control when you prepare a will.

Although the process of preparing a valid will isn’t simple, it’s worth doing if you have enough assets to warrant one, according to any law offices in Illinois. If not, there are still steps you could take toward protecting your wishes for your property.

The Basics of Wills

When most people think about wills, they think about their homes or automobiles. However, this type of testament also includes other items like jewelry and personal belongings. Once included in a will, these things go directly to the beneficiaries named in the document.

Everything that was left out would be distributed through either intestate succession or through the state. If you have a will, there is no way anyone else will receive your belongings except in situations where a beneficiary dies before you do.

It is possible to name a contingent beneficiary, but this would only come into play if the person you wanted to receive your property before was not able to do so. The courts too have a say in all of this because they determine who receives what part of the estate.

Divorce and Wills

If you were legally married when preparing your will, the terms within it must be followed by all parties involved. If anyone wants out of the agreement after it’s been written, such as an ex-spouse or former boyfriend or girlfriend, there may be legal ramifications for them breaking their word.

This is why it’s critical that everyone agrees about how things should go over when one party dies. Because there can be disagreements among family members, it’s time to face all of this when preparing a will.

Call Bell Shah Law to Learn More About the Succession of Your Will

The importance of wills cannot be overstated because they are the only way to ensure that your wishes are followed after death is final. If you do not plan on writing one, make sure you at least discuss these issues with anyone close to you. It may seem like something you don’t need right now, but there is no better time than the present to make these plans for later. For more information on your will and how to set it upright, contact Bell Shah Law.

How to Leave Your Kids and Grandkids Money for the Future

How to Leave Your Kids and Grandkids Money for the Future

Bell & Shah Law, LLC understands the nuances of estate planning. Leaving your hard-earned assets to your loved ones does not have to be complicated. We can assist in protecting finances that can be subjected to taxation providing the maximum value for your children and grandchildren. There are some things to consider leaving assets to your children or grandchildren.

There is a generation skipping tax in addition to estate and gift taxes. A generation skipping trust can negate this tax. Paying for education can help some tax liability. There are a few account types to do this. A 529 plan, Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, and Uniform Transfers to Minors act. Our attorneys can help select the best plan for you and your family.

What are the circumstances?

You will have to analyze this to figure out where to start. What does your family need and does one person need more assistance than another? The recipient needs evaluated as well. How young is the person? Leaving a substantial amount to a young adult may have the opposite effect you intend. Consider a trust to set conditions for the assets to be released.

Talk with your children or grandchildren.

Adapt the plan to your, and your beneficiaries, circumstance. Inform them as to how the money should be used whether for housing, or education, or a vehicle for example. If they know you want them to use the funds productively and you are sure they will consider gifting money. You can gift up to $15,000 per year per person. This is the IRS take on gifting money.

Is there a retirement plan?

If the children or grandchildren are listed as beneficiaries, they receive required minimum distributions soon after your death and will be required to pay taxes on this money. IRAs do not have conditions for naming grandchildren as beneficiaries there are options.

Who distributes the assets?

Planning for our death is not pleasant. When we have finances or property that need to be distributed it is important to cover all the bases and ensure the least amount of stress to our loved ones. An unfortunate truth is these things can cause problems among your surviving relatives. Bell & Shah Law, LLC help you create a plan with a focus on your grandchildren or children so they can focus on healthy coping.

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