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When we are younger and creating estate plans, there are generally considerations for children’s trusts and guardians. Parents or siblings are appointed as personal representatives or agents. But–what happens when a sibling who was appointed as the guardian of your children moves across the country? What if a parent passes away and you do not have a successor agent for health care decisions? What if your financial agent was a friend with whom you have now lost contact?
The Answer: You need to update your estate plans.
Estate planning documents should be reviewed on a yearly basis. Big life changes like births, marriages, divorces, or deaths can mean big changes for your estate plans. Estate plans are not the first thing that comes to mind at those times though. If you have not updated your estate plans since the birth of your first child (27 years ago), any number of these changes could greatly impact your intentions.
Beyond the hypothetical scenarios above, there are other reasons for updating estate plans:
- If you have children, you may decide that at a certain age they are the better option for making important decisions on your behalf.
- Perhaps you willed your property to your children equally – but now one child is addicted to opioids. Your will did not restrict how money should be spent. If your addicted child inherits a lot of money in one chunk, that money could vanish to drugs and your child’s survival might be at risk.
- Maybe your trust leaves everything equally to your children. Then, at some point you gave “Susie Spender” an early inheritance to help her out of a tight spot. Is your intention to still treat all of your children equally upon your passing?
- The worst-case scenario: You believed you knew what your estate plans said, but, they do not say anything close to that at all. When you pass away, your intentions may be lost completely.
Think about what has happened in your life since you last updated your estate plans. Do any life events warrant a change? Even if you have not had any life changes, look at your documents to make sure they accurately state your intentions.
Your plans are only as good as what is written on those papers. If you are in need of an update, give Schluesche Fields S.C. a call at 608-325-2500.