Is Your Estate Plan Up to Date?
Once you take the time to create your estate plan, you might think that your job is done. However, as our circumstances change during life, an estate plan might no longer be up to date. An outdated estate plan will not properly protect you, your family, or your property, so it is important that you revisit your plan with a Santa Ana estate planning lawyer on a regular basis or following life events. The following are only some examples of events that might require an update to your estate plan.
Getting Married or Divorced
When you get married, your spouse automatically gets some inheritance rights under California law. However, their inheritance under the law might not match up with your wishes. For example, if you want your spouse to inherit all of your community and separate property, you will need to outline these instructions in your will or trust. You also likely want to update your beneficiary accounts and possibly your power of attorney to designate your spouse.
If you get divorced, an ex-spouse will lose their inheritance rights under the law, your will, or a trust when your marriage ends. However, you must take steps to remove your ex-spouse as your power of attorney or beneficiary for retirement accounts or life insurance policies. If you have a joint trust, you will want to revoke it and form a trust in your name only.
When you have children, you want to make sure your will and trust are updated to reflect your desired inheritance for them. This is especially true if you are not married to your child’s other parent or get divorced. In addition, you can use your will to designate who you would like to legally care for your children if something happens to both parents. This can prevent lengthy and often adversarial legal proceedings.
Changes in Your Property
Our property and assets can fluctuate over time - both up and down - and a significant change in your property can render your will out of date. If you obtain new property and assets, or your net worth decreases, you should update your estate plan.
The Passage of Time
You do not always need a life event to revisit your estate plan, as the passage of time can require an update. Maybe you had someone designated as the personal representative in your will or your successor trustee, but you have drifted apart from that person and now trust someone else more. Maybe your priorities have changed from the initial bequests you made, and you want to change your beneficiaries. There are many changes that you will likely make over time.
Consult with a Santa Ana Estate Planning Attorney for More Information
Whether you need to create an initial estate plan or believe your current one might be out of date, the Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai can help. Contact us online or call 715-694-1200 to discuss your situation and options with a Santa Ana estate planning lawyer.