The New Year is a great time for checking in - assessing how things are going in your life and where you want them to go from here. 2020 was not the year most of us were planning for, but it was still a year we all went through. We grew and changed as individuals even in the face of a global pandemic. As you are taking stock of your life changes, it is a great time to update your estate plan.
An estate plan is how someone can legally dictate what will happen to their money (assets) and their belongings and property (collectively known as their estate) after they die. If someone dies without an estate plan in place, their estate will go into probate. Probate is a court case in which the decedent's state court decides what will happen to their estate. This process can be long, expensive, and emotionally taxing.
If you already have an estate plan in place, congratulations! You’ve taken an essential step towards protecting your future and helping your family in the process. However, an estate plan - much like your personal wishes - does not stay static forever. Here are our 5 reasons you might want to update your estate plan this year:
New Relationships. Have you gotten divorced, separated, or remarried since when you made your estate plan? Do you have a new partner who you want to be included? You want to make sure that your estate is not still being left to someone you are no longer involved with.
Protecting Your Children. An estate plan dictates who will become the guardian of your children if you were to die. Has your chosen guardian changed since when you set it in place? Have you had more children - or do you now have a child when you had none before? If you have children, estate planning is an essential step in taking care of them, and keeping it updated is included in that.
Stepchildren. If your relationship has changed since making your estate plan, your new partner may have children who you want to leave assets or belongings to. These children would not be automatically included in your immediate family in the probate process, so adding them to your estate plan is important.
Relocation. Different states have different tax laws. This is why the probate process is determined by the state the individual lived in. If you have moved states since you created your estate plan, elements of it may no longer be legally sound. Keep it updated to your current home state!
Changing Intended Gifts. If you would like to leave different belongings to someone in your estate plan, you need to update it. Relationships change all the time, as does your estate and personal effects, so you want to keep it updated to reflect the way you feel about those around you.
If you have an estate plan, you need to keep it updated to reflect your life as it currently stands! For help with any aspect of your estate planning, contact the Law Offices of Mackenzie Sorich today! We are compassionate legal professionals at your service!