This is the last in a three post series on the three wills you should have in your lifetime. As previously mentioned, we encourage clients to develop an estate plan early (age 18) and to review and update that estate plan regularly. So many things can change throughout your life, and your estate plan needs to change with it.
3: Sickness & Old Age
If your estate plan from age 18 is the only one that you ever execute and it is not otherwise revoked prior to your death, then it is the estate plan that will govern who cares for you during any periods of incapacity and how your estate is distributed upon your death.
By this point in your life, your assets and family situation have probably changed significantly since your last estate planning update. Your children might have gone through marriage and/or divorce. Maybe there are new step-grandchildren that you want to include or specifically exclude from your plan. Your assets might have decreased significantly due to medical or nursing home care (or all of the cruises you and your spouse went on when you first retired!), or all of the money that you saved in anticipation of nursing home care might have been maintained if such care has not been needed. As mentioned previously, it might be time to think about a lifetime gifting plan to reduce your assets over time. If the possibility of nursing facility care is still ahead of you, then it might be time to consider how to manage your assets in preparation of Medicaid qualification. If one child has moved in with you in order to provide medical care and prevent the need for nursing facility care, you might want to consider letting the child stay in your house upon your death.
Always keep in mind who you have named in what role. If a person moves away, becomes incapacitated, or dies, who will take over that role according to your estate plan? Did you name a back up for the now unavailable person? Is there someone in your life who might be preferred to your original nominee? For example, a child that turned out to be a CPA or attorney and lives right next door to you might have a better understanding of your plan and how to execute it. One child or grandchild might emerge as your primary care giver such that they need to be appointed under your Health Care and Durable Powers of Attorney. Your spouse or other loved ones might require government assistance which could be affected by receiving an inheritance from you outright, in which case we need to take steps to protect their benefits. As your family begins to define itself, you might decide you want to make specific or extra gifts to your grandchildren or to the child that has provided most of your care.
If you have questions about estate planning or wish to begin your plan or update an existing plan contact our office Fuquay-Varina 919-552-4707 or send us an email.
Latest posts by Amanda Sherrod (see all)
- But Who Gets Mother’s Pearls - January 6, 2015
- Left in the Waiting Room - December 22, 2014
- Other Life Events When You Should Update Your Will - December 17, 2014