Thinking about how your estate will be distributed at the end of your life can seem overwhelming and premature at the same time. Do you need to do anything right now? Could something happen later that would impact your estate plan? How can you reduce taxes, provide for your family, and leave a legacy while also reducing stress on loved ones after you’ve passed away?
If something unexpected happened tomorrow—or even next week—would you be prepared? Estate planning is an important process that helps you make decisions about your assets and how they’ll be distributed after you’re gone. It helps ensure that your assets pass to the people or organizations you intend while minimizing potential taxes and other implications of transferring those assets.
Whether you are single, married with kids, divorced with kids, or have no kids — there are a variety of life circumstances that require different types of estate planning documents. Here we will discuss some common questions regarding estate planning through life changes.
Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan
There are many major life changes that can affect your estate plan. Some of these include having a child, getting married, or experiencing a major financial change. If you have a will, it’s important to update it whenever one of these major life changes occurs. This ensures that your assets will be distributed the way you want them to be in the event of your death. If you don’t have a will, these life changes may prompt you to create one.
Other major life changes that can affect your estate plan include inheriting property or experiencing a change in your financial situation. Whether you’re born into wealth or come into money later in life, it’s important to update your estate plan accordingly to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone.
Considerations When Moving to Another State
Many people assume that their estate plan is set in stone, but life changes can render even the best-laid plans obsolete. If you move to a new state, for instance, your will may no longer be valid. If you have a power of attorney, your legal authority may not extend to your new state.
Keeping Your Will Updated Can Help Avoid Probate
Probate is the legal process of distributing a person’s assets after they die. The court appoints an executor, who is responsible for managing the estate and distributing the assets according to the deceased person’s wishes. Probate can be costly and time-consuming, so many people choose to avoid it by setting up trusts or other legal mechanisms. Trusts can also help you control how your assets are distributed after you die.
How Often Should You Review Your Estate Plan?
It’s important to review your estate plan on a regular basis to make sure it still meets your needs. There are many factors that can change over time, such as your family situation, your financial situation, and the law. You should review your estate plan at least every few years, or whenever any of these factors change.
Importance of Flexible Estate Planning
Flexible estate planning is important for a number of reasons. First, your will may not reflect your wishes if your finances change. Second, you may be subject to estate tax if you do not review your estate plan regularly. Third, your beneficiaries or executor may change over time, so it is important to review your estate plan periodically to ensure that it still meets your needs.
Reasons to Hire a Professional for Estate Planning
Estate lawyers help you set up new estate planning documents or update old ones. They can walk you through the process of choosing appropriate documents for your needs, such as a will or trust, and help you make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. If you have questions about specific situations, they can also provide personalized advice that takes into account your individual circumstances.
Contact a Chicago Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you’ve decided to create an estate plan, whether it’s simple or complex, we can help you make the process as easy and straightforward as possible. We can also provide guidance on other estate planning documents that may be appropriate for your situation. To learn more about how we can help you plan for a smooth transition after you’re gone, contact James C. Provenza & Associates, P.C. at (847) 729-3939 or by filling out our online form. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have.