Estate plans should be regularly updated, particularly after major life events. Some of the events that require updating your estate plan include marriage, remarriage, the birth of children and illness or disability.
Marriage and remarriage
Marriage is one of the most significant life events. While you might assume your spouse would automatically inherit your estate, you must specifically name them in your estate plan to ensure that this is the case. If you get remarried and want your new spouse to inherit the majority of your estate, this must be stated in your estate plan. Most states, including Georgia, have as their default, laws holding that estate assets be shared between your new spouse and your children from your previous marriage. However, if you want your assets to be distributed differently, you must indicate this in your estate plan. If you have stepchildren and want them to inherit anything from your estate, you need to name them in your estate plan.
Another time when it is necessary to update your estate plan is after the birth of a child or when you adopt a child. In your estate plan, it is vitally important that you list guardians who would become your child’s caretaker in the event that something happens to you. Make sure you designate someone, rather than leave it open, so you ensure that you approve of the person who would assume caretaking responsibilities for your children. Otherwise, this important decision would be left up to the court.
Illness or disability
Your estate plan should also have contingency planning for such events as illness or disability, either your own or that of a loved one. Your estate plan should indicate who you want to make decisions concerning your care. It should also indicate how a beneficiary’s potential illness would affect your estate plan. There are certain situations in which inheriting money from your estate could actually prevent your loved one — if they become ill or disabled — from receiving financial support from government programs.
By updating your estate plan during these critical times, you help ensure that your loved ones and your assets are protected in the future. For assistance in updating your estate plan, call the offices of the Estate Planning Law Group Of Georgia, James M. Miskell P.C. Our attorneys can review your estate plan and recommend any alterations that are necessary to reflect your current needs.