11 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan Before It’s Too Late

While most people lack a Will or any other type of estate plan, your having one puts you in good stead with yourself and your family. However, events in your life can drastically change your plans for distributing your assets.  It is always a very good idea that you need to meet with your estate planning lawyer to make sure changes to your Will or other documents are not necessary and that your documents reflect your intentions in light of new developments.

Here are 11 reasons why you need to update your estate plan before it’s too late:

  1. 1. You got divorced or remarried. You want your Will and other documents to include your new spouse and/or to delete your ex-spouse. You may want to change your life insurance policy and 401K so as to designate your new spouse or someone else as beneficiary.
  2. 2. If you have a blended family. If you remarried and your new spouse has children, do you want to provide for them? Simply naming children in your Will is not sufficient since this may not include stepchildren.
  3. 3. You want to add a new beneficiary or charity. You may also want to change a charity or delete a named beneficiary who may have passed away or is no longer in your favor.
  4. 4. A child or other beneficiary has special or changed needs. For instance, your grandchild has autism or a beneficiary has been severely injured and needs permanent care. You can establish a Special Needs Trust that can provide for your beneficiary without jeopardizing their receipt of government provided public benefits.
  5. 5. You have received additional substantial assets. You may want to consider placing real estate or other substantial assets in a trust or a “Life Estate Deed” to avoid probate.
  6. 6. You moved to a new state. For instance, if your new state is a community property state and your old state was based on equitable distribution, then your estate plan should reflect the change and be in accordance with the state’s tax and probate laws.
  7. 7. You want to provide for the education of children or grandchildren. There are a number of trusts that your estate planning lawyer can advise you on that can pay college tuition and even room and board.
  8. 8. You have bought or sold a business. If you bought a business, your estate plan should include a succession plan. If you have sold a business, you may want to distribute the assets in a certain way or hold them in a trust.
  9. 9. Do you have a durable power of attorney or health care power of attorney? Or, if you do, you may want to change whomever you appointed because the individual passed away or you feel someone else should have the authority.
  10. 10. Do you have a living Will? Massachusetts does not have a Living Will Statute, but a Living Will is still helpful in giving direction to your family how your last moments of your life should be handled. If you have one, review it to see if you wish to change any of your intentions. As we get older our intentions change.
  11. 11. If you have not reviewed your overall estate plan in the past 3 to 5 years, do so. Meet with your estate planning lawyer to discuss new tax laws, new statutory laws, new issues in your life, and if they apply to your situation. Your attorney should sit down and review your estate plan with you to see if you missed anything or if new plans should be put into effect that can protect your estate or that considers new people in your life whom you wish to benefit.

Call Estate Planning Lawyer Patricia Bloom-McDonald

Consult estate planning lawyer Patricia Bloom-McDonald with an office in Westport, and Canton, Massachusetts. Attorney Bloom-McDonald has been representing the interests of the elderly and their families throughout the Commonwealth for over 25 years in the areas of estate planning, real estate, probate, and elder law.

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