Building Your Estate Plan
Estate planning is the process of organizing your estate so that all aspects will receive appropriate care and attention after something happens to you. Since it is impossible to predict when something may happen, we encourage all adults to have an estate plan regardless of their age. Your estate planning needs may vary depending on your marital status, whether or not you have children, the number and financial value of your assets, debts, and belongings, and other factors.
Updating Your Estate Plan
Once your initial estate plan has been established, you may need to update it periodically to ensure that it reflects your current wishes. This week, our Lake of the Ozarks estate planning attorney is here to discuss when you should consider updating your estate plan.
Changing Marital Status
If you already have an estate plan in place, it is important that you update it when you get married. Though many of your belongings may be automatically transferred to your surviving spouse upon your death, it is best not to assume that this will always be the case. If you do not want your spouse to receive immediate access to some of your assets, it important to specify this in your estate plan as well. Since your desires will likely change in the event of a divorce, you will also want to remember to update your estate plan if your marriage should end.
Raising children is a big responsibility. Food, shelter, clothes, guidance, support, companionship... your little ones will look to you for absolutely everything. If something happens to you, your children will need someone else to provide for their needs. So as to ensure that each child's needs will be met, we recommend updating your estate plan every time you have (or adopt) a new child. The most important aspect of this will be to appoint a replacement guardian for your children, but you can also use your estate plan to dictate how your assets should be divided among your children and at what age they should receive access to these assets.
Purchasing A Large Asset
If you have recently bought a home, boat, car, or other expensive asset, we recommend you update your estate plan to reflect this new possession. You can use your estate plan to identify whom should inherit this asset after you pass, but that will not be your plan's only purpose. Assuming that you financed your purchase, your estate plan will also fill the important role of specifying how any remaining debt on this belonging is to be repaid.
Changing Financial Situations
The format your estate plan follows will depend on your overall financial situation. If you first built your estate plan when you were just starting out, you may want to update it once your career is well established and your income has increased. You may also want to consider updating your plan if you receive a significant influx of money from an outside source, such as inheritance or lottery. By the same token, a decrease in financial status may also be cause to update your estate plan.
Contact Gibbons Law Firm For Estate Planning Assistance
Planning your estate is an important responsibility, and one that should not be overlooked. If you pass away without a proper estate plan in place, your assets may become tied up in probate for several months (or possibly even several years) before it can be passed on to your heirs.
Whether you are building your estate plan for the first time or updating an existing plan, we hope you'll consider Gibbons Law Firm in Osage Beach when the time comes. Your initial consultation with our Lake of the Ozarks general practice law firm is always free.
Your Trusted Legal Resource
Gibbons Law Firm
4075 Osage Beach Parkway, Suite 300
Osage Beach, MO 65065
No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.