7 Signs to Update Your Estate Plan was written by our Wills, Trusts and
Steve Worrall. While Steve's primary office is in Marietta, he serves all of our
clients from Marietta to Atlanta to Lawrenceville to Canton to Savannah
and all points in between.
So, you and your Georgia estate planning lawyer have put together a great
plan. Congratulations! You are ahead of the majority of the population
already. Keep in mind, however, that even though the hard part is done,
there is some maintenance that you and your attorney need to do from time
to time. Your life and circumstances will likely change over the years,
and your estate plan should change accordingly.
Some of the changes that should precipitate a call to your Georgia estate
planning lawyer are fairly obvious, but they can still be overlooked.
After all, who has a baby and then thinks, "I should call my lawyer"
in their sleep-deprived state? For that reason, it's a good idea to
do the occasional mental inventory to see if you've undergone any
of these life changes since you last updated your estate plan:
You got married. While a spouse does often inherit by default, there are a lot of other
considerations to make. As a bonus, your Georgia estate planning lawyer
will likely have great suggestions on how to adjust your plan in order
to save your spouse on taxes and other time and money concerns when dealing
with your estate.
You got divorced. If you don't want your ex-spouse to receive your property upon your
death, it's worth your while to get together with your estate planning
lawyer to make sure your ex's name is removed as a beneficiary of
accounts and policies, taken out of the will, removed from trusts, etc.
You've been widowed. When one spouse passes away, the other will need to update his or her
estate plan to reflect that change. Not only will your beneficiaries likely
change, but you may also have an inheritance from your spouse that now
needs to be incorporated into your own estate plan.
You had a child or grandchild. The birth or adoption of a
new family member means that aspects of your estate plan may need to be changed to accommodate
new needs. For example, you may want to create a college fund or set up
a trust. Also, it's very important to have your Georgia estate planning
lawyer draw up legal guardianship papers to determine who will care for
your child should you be unable to do so yourself.
Your financial situation has changed. Whether you've received some sort of windfall, gotten a significant
increase in pay, or have lost your job, it is important to review your
estate plan to determine if it provides for these changes. If not, you'll
need your lawyer to adjust it appropriately.
You've purchased real estate. A home often represents an individual's biggest life investment, and
you want to be sure to cover it in your estate plan. From how to pay it
off to whom you want to leave it to and plenty in between, an estate planning
lawyer will help incorporate this big change into your existing plan.
You started (or ended) a business. Starting or ending a business warrants a trip to the estate planning lawyer's
office for plenty of reasons, not the least of which is that it will certainly
have some sort of effect on your financial situation. Succession planning
is another big aspect of running a business, as you'll want to clearly
outline what is to happen to the biz if you die or become otherwise incapacitated.
A little legal stuff now will save big headaches later.
There are, of course, other events that should likely trigger a call or
visit to your Georgia Wills, Trusts and Estates planning lawyer, but these
seven are some of the biggest. Fortunately, with the major estate planning
done, these types of updates will typically be fairly easy while benefitting
you and your heirs greatly.