22 Jan When Life Tells You To Create An Estate Plan: Cole D. McNiel, Associate Attorney
As an estate planning firm, we encourage all who we encounter to stop procrastinating and be proactive in creating a plan. Sometimes things occur in life that makes us all more aware of the need for an estate plan or at a minimum the need to update an existing plan. Here is a shortlist of the most common life situations that can spur action – pass this along to friends and family!
Getting Married or Divorced
A change in relationship status is one of the most important life indicators that trigger the need for creating or amending estate planning documents. If you are newly married, then you want your documents to reflect your wishes as it pertains to your spouse. This includes updating beneficiaries and your power of attorney documents so that your spouse is included. If you recently got divorced, you would also want to update your estate planning documents so that any old information doesn’t slow down or hinder the probate or trust distribution processes and to ensure that your agent documents are accurate.
Buying a Home
Another life indicator to kickstart the need for estate planning is becoming a homeowner. If something unexpected were to happen to you, your spouse or both of you, then you would want to make sure that your assets, including your home, would pass to your intended beneficiaries in the easiest way possible. Don’t let urban legends and half-truths about community property stop you or someone you know from completing a comprehensive estate plan.
Starting (or Owning) a Business
Starting (or owning) a business is a huge accomplishment and as such needs to be planned for! Your estate planning documents should include a business succession plan. This plan can include who will control, own and manage the company in your absence. A well-crafted plan will allow your company the ability to continue operating immediately after your passing without having accounts frozen and waiting for your estate to be cleared through the probate process. This is important to consider because you might have other employees and their families depending on the company to continue operating and making payroll disbursements.
We hope this list of life indicators helps to jumpstart the conversation of creating or updating an estate plan. If you or your loved ones have any questions about these or other life indicators, please reach out to us or comment below.