- 78% of Millennials do not have a will.
- 64% of GenXers don’t have a will.
- Only 4 in 10 adults have a living trust or will.
Millions of people die every year. Unfortunately, only about 40% of these people pass away with some type of paperwork in place. Estate plans and their components are meant to protect the people left behind.
While the majority of those who die leave no paperwork behind, what if you have taken the time to visit an Atlanta estate planning attorney and put together an estate plan? Life situations change which means that you need to revisit your plan periodically to make sure it’s still applicable. How often you need to take a look at your plan depends on several factors.
Your lawyer will advise that you can use both a will and a living trust to take care of end of life division of assets. However, each has unique features. For example, a living trust can be used prior to your death. These are just two examples of the pieces of a comprehensive estate plan.
If you created a plan in your 30s or 40s, consider that it will be at least 40 years old by the time you die — and that’s based on today’s average lifespan. Medicine continues to get better, making our lives longer. A lot can change over four decades. Here are situations that may occur that should cause you to revisit your plan.
1) Changes in Law
Tax laws change, it seems, every time a new administration takes office and, in some cases, more often. You should revisit your trust every five to ten years as a matter of habit. At least check to see if tax laws have changed.
For instance, current law may have you leaving more to your children than your spouse so they aren’t hit with taxes. As laws change, the way you have divided your assets may need to change.
2) More Money
Let’s say that you start a business after you create your estate plan and the company booms. Maybe you made an investment and the stock market takes off.
When you have an increase in your income, you need to take a closer look at your estate plan. Remember that if the bottom falls out, you can always go back and change it again. What you don’t want to do is leave your windfall out of your plan.
3) Reduction in Finances
Just as you could realize significant financial income after you create your plan, you could experience a financial setback.
It doesn’t mean you have to look at your plan if you’re out of work for a month, but you should give it a second glance if you lose thousands in the stock market, close a business, or experience another major financial change.
Maybe you were single when you created your plan. Maybe you were married. If that status of your relationships has changed since you and your lawyer drew up your estate plan, you need to revisit it and make the necessary changes.
You don’t want to leave someone the bulk of your assets if you have no relationship with them any longer, and you don’t want to leave someone out of your will if you have developed a committed relationship.
5) Having Children
The birth of children is often the event that has people thinking about creating an estate plan, but you may have put one together before the kids came along. You may also find yourself caring for a relative due to unforeseen circumstances.
If you have children after you construct your estate plan, you’ll want to revamp it to include your kids or other dependents.
6) Having Grandchildren
Just like having children can change your plans, having grandchildren can alter them. If your grown children have little ones of their own, you’ll want to make sure they are taken care of.
Take the time to determine how you are going to add them into your will and even into your life insurance policies.
7) Death of a Spouse
If your spouse precedes you in death, you will need to alter your estate plan. You may also face tax implications sooner than the normal April deadline. If your spouse passes away, you have a lot of paperwork facing you that you won’t feel like dealing with immediately.
Once you feel you are able, speak with your lawyer about the implications of the death and what you need to take care of.
8) Your Health
If you are diagnosed with a new condition or terminal illness, you need to look closely at your estate plan. The things you thought you had time to decide may now have a closer deadline.
Speak to your Atlanta estate planning lawyer for help in determining which changes, if any, need to be made to your estate plan.
Our Atlanta Estate Planning Attorneys are Here for You
An estate plan isn’t something you create and never think about again. Life changes affect your plan in ways that you may not have considered. If you experience any one of the events we’ve described above, speak with your attorney or financial planner.
If you are creating an estate plan for the first time or need to alter a plan already in place, reach out to our Atlanta estate planning attorneys for assistance. You need someone with experience guiding you to ensure your plan will be carried out in the way you wish. Call and schedule an appointment today.
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