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Top Five Life Events that Require Estate Planning

Christene (Chris) Krupa Downs
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Many of us wonder about the right time to start or adjust estate planning. While, most estate planning professionals can’t agree on a specific age that you should consider working on an estate plan, there is a school of thought that believes that the sooner, the better when it comes to deciding what will happen to your assets when you’re no longer here. It could be as soon as one gets a bank account, or when one reaches the age of majority. And if you just talk to your peer group, some think that it begins when you are closer to retirement age. However, one way to think about it, is in terms of specific events that demand contemplating an estate plan, regardless of age. Read on to learn about the top five events that require estate planning.

  1. A Change in Marital Status: Marriage/Remarriage/Divorce – Whether you’re marrying for the first or fourth time, the coming together of two individuals into one entity creates an important time to begin estate planning. This is also true for divorce. With marriage, if you want your spouse to inherit all of your assets, then this is a time to make a will to ensure that it happens. A change in marital status can trigger a lot of estate planning issues. Consider the following:
  • When reviewing your estate plan with a new marriage in mind, you must remember to review beneficiaries you have designated to receive assets in the event of your death (such as life insurance beneficiaries) and change them (if necessary) to reflect your intentions.
  • Consider creating a power of attorney and health care power of attorney for your spouse in the event of your incapacity.
  • In cases of divorce, it’s crucial to update any previous estate plans that were made with the former spouse.

 

  1. Travel – If you’re traveling across continents or visiting a neighboring state, at the very least, it’s a good idea to make or update your estate plans before major trips. You just don’t know what could happen and it’s best to be prepared. This is especially true if you leave for long stretches of time or leave the country often.
  2. Births or  Adoptions – A very obvious reason to jumpstart estate planning is the addition to your family. This can be with the birth of your new baby or with the adoption of a child. Although you probably don’t want to think about such things, you will want to contemplate guardianship and will try to set up for their financial security. This is also true for grandchildren. Anytime that there are new family members in the equation, you will look into wills and trusts to ensure that they are well provided for.
  3. Inheritances – An inheritance can happen suddenly and can change your priorities. Because of this change in circumstances, you will likely want to update your estate plans so that they better reflect your assets. For instance, you may want to provide a gift that you can now afford.
  4. Buying a Home or Other Real Estate – An A home purchase or buying other real estate is a sign to begin your estate planning because you may want to avoid probate court proceedings.

Get Texas Estate Planning Help

The top five life events that require estate planning are just common tentpoles that either expand your wealth or influence how you want to distribute your assets after you die. You will want to make sure that you are prepared and that your intentions are granted. Consider getting in touch with a Texas estate planning attorney to help ensure that things are done properly.