‘Triggers’ To Your Estate Planning – Time To Review
I have written frequently about certain ‘triggers’ that can affect not only your life, but also your estate plan going forward.
Certainly, changes in the tax code can be a big ‘trigger’, but in this article I am referring to the more personal life events that would cause you to take a new look at both long- range plans and specific financial and estate plan documents.
Marriage and Divorce are two major life events, but think also of whose marriage and divorce? By this I mean if a child (or even a grandchild if they are mentioned in your will or estate plan) is experiencing a marriage or divorce – it would be time to review what changes you envision to your documents. There are numerous articles written about an ex-spouse inadvertently inheriting. Remember also, that critical period between the filing for a divorce and the actual decree of divorce. (see my article on my website: Almost Divorced)
Change of job/retirement – affects not only your plans for the future (e.g. possible relocation to a different state and different legal jurisdiction – think community property state) but also any 401(K) plans and investments in your previous or new company (think beneficiary forms) (See my article: 3 Life Events Affecting Your Retirement)
Death of a spouse or family member – anyone you have considered as a beneficiary to your estate. This event requires an important review of all documents.
Disability – if you or a spouse has experienced a dramatic change of health, it may be time to take a look at health care directives, power of attorney, etc. Has a child or grandchild become disabled or receiving disability insurance?
Births – Is there a new child or grandchild and do you want them to share in your estate plan? Remember, also that depending on the wording of your estate plan, the birth of a step child or one from a ‘blended’ family might have an effect on your planning.
Acquiring or disposing of a major asset – particularly rental property, vacation property, valuable collections or a business that is/was part of your estate plan. Have you had a recent ‘windfall’ such as inheritance, settlement or lottery winning?
All the above are ‘triggers’ – important life events that deserve the new look at your estate plan and your financial position going forward.
Arguable, there are many other important life events. Keep in mind – if it happened and the event was important to you – then it might just be a ‘trigger’ for your estate planning.
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