So you have your will or trust all prepared and signed. Your attorney says everything is in order. Now you are set for life, right? Maybe, but probably not.
For example, if you were single when you prepared your estate planning documents and you get married, your new spouse will now have rights to receive a portion of your estate regardless of what your will says. But you most likely will want to modify your will to make sure your estate passes to your loved ones as you wish.
If you were married when you prepared your estate planning documents and you get divorced, your will and many other documents (legal and financial) are automatically changed. But caution because some documents are not automatically changed.
If you were without children when you prepared your estate planning document and you now have children, you most likely will need to modify your will and many other legal and financial documents to make sure your children are included. But you should not just add them as beneficiaries. You should discuss establishing a trust for any minor or incapacitated children who might receive part of your estate. If you don’t, a guardianship or another form of legal proceeding will likely be required.
Bottom line, you should consult with your estate planning attorney as soon as you have a major life event like marriage, divorce, children or accidents that could cause major changes to your financial situation. And don’t forget to ask your attorney about those assets that might not be covered by your will like life insurance, certain bank accounts and retirement plans (employer-provided and individual).
If you need help in this area, please send me an email or give me a call. I’ll be glad to help.