Your Estate Plan Should Change with You
Did you know that National Estate Planning Awareness Week in October (17 – 23 in 2016) was adopted in 2008 as an outreach effort to help the estimated 120 million Americans who do not have a current effective plan in place for an unexpected illness, accident or untimely death. Having an estate plan helps avoid costly court procedures and any unwanted consequences, especially if you are living but unable to manage your own affairs. Take some time this month to consider if you have a plan in place, and if it is appropriate for your current lifestyle.
Any of these changes indicate it may be time to put an estate plan in place:
(1) Has there been a recent marriage, divorce or second marriage? An ex-spouse may have rights if they are named as a beneficiary in your documents or under a beneficiary designation or “transfer on death” account.
(2) Any new additions to the family? Children or grandchildren? Naming guardians can be tough, but I can help you with some creative ideas to get past any roadblocks. Any adoptions? Make sure your plan covers these loved ones too.
(3) Does you or your spouse have children from a prior relationship? Does your current plan take care of both your spouse and your children sufficiently and in such a way that will minimize conflict in the future?
(4) Is your child old enough to be considered an adult under the law, but may still need your help if he or she is hurt or injured? Having your child sign a power of attorney and HIPAA notice will allow you access to their medical information and be able to manage any medical or financial affairs without having to go to court to qualify as a conservator or guardian.
(4) Do you have a child, grandchild, spouse or partner who is or is likely to become a person with special needs? Planning can help a loved one qualify for Medicaid or government aid while providing for supplemental care and also prevent any gaps in coverage from an outright inheritance in the future.
(5) Are you in an unmarried relationship where you own property? A co-habitation agreement could help if something happens to one of you.
Please contact me with any questions you may have or for a review of your current plan at (303) 780-7390.