If you’ve taken the time to create your estate plan, you need to make sure that it’s up to date. A proper estate plan takes time and is a serious commitment to organizing your life and making big decisions. With all this time invested, you do not want to undermine your plan before you actually need it. It’s a common misconception that once your estate plan is signed, you don’t need to do anything else. Your estate plan is not set in stone once you sign it. Aside from regular updates required by changes in law, you may need to make changes to reflect changes in your assets, family situation, or changes in your agents’ health or availability.
Don’t Sabotage Your Estate Plan by Failing to Update It
A common misconception is that your estate plan is finalized once it’s signed and you can’t make any changes. This couldn’t be further from the truth as your life can drastically change at any moment. Your estate plan should always reflect your current situation, and as you move through various stages of your life, you will need different updates to protect yourself and your loved ones. We’ve previously discussed when to update your estate plan. Here are a few life changes that warrant an update to your estate plan:
- You get married or divorced.
- You have a child or grandchild.
- You children develop health issues requiring long-term care.
- Changing beneficiaries (due to divorce, birth, death, change-of-heart, etc.).
- Starting a new business.
- A move out of state.
- Bought or sold property (personal or investment).
Don’t Sabotage Your Estate Plan by Forgetting to Fund It
Another way your estate plan can be easily sabotaged is by not funding (implementing) it properly. In this instance, we are referring to trust-based estate plans. A trust-based estate plan ties your assets to the type of trust that you establish. Once your trust is established, there are still additional things that need to be done in order to ensure your plan will be carried out correctly when the time comes. Funding your trust is essential to a trust-based estate plan. Funding your trust involves transferring property and assets into the trust. If you don’t complete this step, your plan may not be carried out the way you want it to be, and you risk being required to distribute your assets through an expensive and prolonged probate process.
If you are curious about the estate planning process or need help with a current plan, we are here to help. Contact us and let us help you figure out the best path for protecting your family. We can help in Illinois or Wisconsin with your estate planning or business needs.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.