Estate planning is not written in stone. Instead, estate plans should be revised and reconsidered when various major life events occur.
Marriage may or may not involve a prenuptial agreement. Regardless, it may call for adding your new spouse’s name as beneficiary on insurance policies, on a will or trust, power of attorney, health care proxy and deeds.
Serious illness requires that you give thought to appointing someone to handle your affairs and making sure they have the documents needed to discharge the responsibility. You may want to add a second person to share the load or as a back-up. It is also the time to consider asset protection strategies should long-term care be needed one day, either at home or in a facility. One of the biggest mistakes we see, as elder law attorneys, is that the family becomes so focused on the medical side of things that they fail to focus on the legal side until it is too late.
Divorce requires that you update your estate plan to avoid undesirable consequences such as a former spouse receiving assets upon your death.
Relocation can dramatically change the laws that apply to your estate plan. If you’ve recently moved to or from New York, you should have an attorney review your estate plan to make sure that it will still be valid in all respects.
Births often require that you update a will or other estate planning document to reflect your choice of guardianship for the child. You should add them as an heir to your estate and decide at what age you would want them to have control over their inheritance.
Death requires updating your estate planning documents to remove the deceased person from your plans. You may also want to reconsider who you wish to name as your heirs.