Everyone goes through changes in their life. Your family grows, your business succeeds, you buy a new house. The last thing you might be thinking about through all of these events in your life is what will happen if you were to pass on suddenly. But it is important.
The main purpose of estate planning is to make sure that your loved ones are taken care of and do not have a mess to take care of. You can help them out tremendously with just a few simple steps that make sure that when they are grieving they don’t have additional worries. That’s why there are some key times in your life when an update to your estate is necessary.
Start with a simple will
If you are like most people, the small changes in life are not going to change your estate. A simple will which names an executor, usually a child, will take care of everything. Your entire estate will automatically come under their care should something happen to you.
Keeping it simple is important to keeping it valid no matter what might have changed since it was written. If you have no complicated assets or need for a trust, simply designating the executor and your beneficiaries is probably going to be more than enough.
The changes that matter
There are a few times when life changes dictate a need to revisit your estate, however. These include:
- The birth or adoption of a child. It is often beneficial to set up a trust for minor children which would include all of your assets plus any life insurance. If you have a new member of your family, it’s very likely that you will have to plan for them.
- A child becoming an adult. When your children reach 18 years, they are eligible to be your executor. You may also want to revisit any trust that was setup to take care of them now that they are on their own.
- The purchase of a house. It’s not necessary to name someone to inherit your house, but you may want to do so in order to keep it in the family.
- Divorce or death of a spouse. If your marital status has changed, you certainly have big changes that need to be reflected in your estate.
Where to start
Most estates are indeed simple, and they need to be kept as simple as possible. There is still an advantage to at least consulting with an estate planning attorney so that you know your options and take full advantage of the law.
The key is always a clear, well defined estate that protects your assets, supports those who need it, and takes care of the details so that your family doesn’t have a mess to clean up. Some life changes require your will to be revisited to make sure you are taking care of everything in order to help those you love.