How to Know If You Need to Update Your Estate Plan
If you have an estate plan in place to ensure the orderly distribution of your assets in the event of your death, you are among the minority of Texans (and Americans). A recent survey found that just more than four of every ten adults in the United States have put any type of plan in place for the distribution of assets and the guardianship of minor children in the event of death. If you have minor children at home, it’s even less likely you have a will, trust or other type of estate plan, as just 36% of people in that demographic have completed any type of estate planning.
If you have taken the initiative to formulate and implement an estate plan, it’s essential that you review it periodically to ensure that it’s up to date and meets your needs. Even if you don’t experience one of the following events, you should meet with your estate planning lawyer every three-to-five years to review your financial situation, the terms of your estate planning, and the impact of any new laws.
Situations that Will Likely Require Updated Estate Planning
Any events that change your potential beneficiaries, the magnitude of your estate or the potential tax consequences to your estate should lead you to set up a review of your estate plan:
- Marriage or divorce, or the death of a spouse – Texas is a community property state, which means that all property acquired during the course of your marriage is jointly owned by you and your spouse. Upon your death, that’s the way it will be treated, unless you designate differently in an estate planning document. If you have recently divorced, make certain your ex is no longer named as a beneficiary of your estate. If you have recently married, you may want to confirm that your new spouse will be included in your estate planning. After the death of your spouse, you’ll want to revisit your estate planning to allocate your property elsewhere.
- The birth or adoption of a child – You want to specifically name any biological, adopted or stepchildren who will be beneficiaries of your estate
- Any major financial changes – Whether your net worth has increased or decreased dramatically, you should review the allocation of your estate to ensure it meets your goals
- The addition or removal of potential beneficiaries – If there are charities that no longer exist, or new charities that you want to add, as well as individuals you want to add or delete, contact your estate planning attorney
- Any substantial health challenges or changes – The distribution of your property upon your death is only a portion of a comprehensive estate plan. You also want measures in place to identify what will be done if you are incapacitated. Look at powers of attorney, advance medical directives and living wills to ensure that they will achieve your objectives if they need to be implemented.
Contact the Proven Estate Planning Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client, including people charged with criminal offenses. For an appointment with a thorough and detail-oriented estate planning lawyer, contact us by email or call our offices at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.