This is the second in a three post series on the three wills you should have in your lifetime.
As initially 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. 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.
Approaching Retirement? Review Your Estate Plans
The forthcoming of retirement often triggers people to update their estate plans. By this point, you might have accrued significant assets and added a few children or grandchildren that were not addressed in an earlier will. You might have moved to a different state, in which case you need to have your estate planning documents reviewed by an attorney in that state to make sure they comply with the local law. Your 30-year-old might have turned out to be more responsible than you imagined when you directed that her inheritance be held in trust until she turned 40. Or your 25-year-old might have turned out to be more irresponsible than you imagined when you directed that his inheritance be given outright after the age of 21. It’s time to review these things with an attorney and update your documents accordingly.
Although your spouse is usually the first choice for most estate planning roles, such as the Executor of your estate and the Agent under your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney, it is a good idea to add successors in all of these roles. If you already have an estate plan in place, you might have named parents or siblings in those roles. At this point, your own children are now adults and might be a better choice for some of the roles that you previously filled with your parents, who are now aging, friends, or siblings.
An update to your estate plan will also include reviewing beneficiary designations on all of your retirement, brokerage and deposit accounts, updating gifts of assets and land, and discussing Long-Term Care insurance to cover the cost of future nursing home care. If your parents have passed away and left you an inheritance, you also need to address how those inherited assets will be distributed upon your death. Do you want your family land to go to your children? To your spouse? If your estate is likely to incur estate taxes (in 2015 a single person would have to have assets exceeding $5.43 million and a married couple would have to have assets exceeding $10.86 million in order to trigger estate taxes), then it might also be time to consider a gifting plan to reduce your taxable estate over time and preserve more assets for you and your loved ones. We can take steps now to make sure that those new assets pass according to your wishes.
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