Tag: update

Updating Your Estate Plan After the Birth of a Child

After the birth of your new child, you probably need to update your estate plan. The update will address one simple issue: your current estate plan does not include your child. It may be out of date in other ways too. To protect your child in case anything happens to you, get started on the changes as soon as possible.

Including Your Child in the Estate Plan

When you start reviewing your estate plan, you may realize that it needs more changes than you thought. For example, you probably want to include your child in your will. You may have a trust benefiting your children that should include your child as a beneficiary. And your powers of attorney and other existing estate planning documents should reflect the fact that you have a child.

To update these documents, you need your lawyer to prepare either addendums or new versions of the documents. You should speak to your lawyer about the necessary changes and make sure you sign the new documents when ready.

In addition, you may need new estate planning documents prepared. Many parents decide to incorporate the following:

  • Guardianship designation to specify who should take care of your child if you cannot
  • College savings account such as a 529 plan
  • Life insurance
  • Additional estate planning for themselves, such as medical directives

Protecting Your Child Through Estate Planning

Even if you do not update your estate plan, the law may protect your child from being disinherited altogether. But don’t take that risk. It is usually straightforward to add your child to important documents such as your will. Doing so can provide peace of mind that your child will have financial stability even if you are not around.

Signing new documents such as a guardianship designation provides additional peace of mind. You will want someone in place to care for your child if you cannot. And you need a plan in place to protect your child, just in case. Updating your estate plan is a great place to start.

Want to update your estate plan? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

Updating Your Estate Plan When You Have New Stepchildren

When you welcome new stepchildren into your life, you may need to update your estate plan too. With the addition of new family members, your estate plan might not reflect your wishes anymore.

Which Updates Do You Need to Make?

The updates you should make to your estate plan are similar to the updates you would make if you just had a baby. This is true whether you just married the stepchildren’s parent or if the children have recently come to live with you. In addition, you may need more changes if you recently got married to the stepchildren’s parent. For example, you may need:

  • A will that includes the stepchildren
  • A guardianship designation for each stepchild
  • College savings, like a 529 plan
  • More life insurance

You might also want to expand your estate plan to include medical directives, powers of attorney, and other documents that allow others to make decisions if you cannot. These estate planning structures protect children in your life by maintaining stability even if you are not the one making the choices.

If the stepchildren do not live with you full-time, you may not want to include them in your estate plan yet. Or maybe the children are older and live independently, so a gift in your will is more appropriate. Also, consider talking to your partner, husband, or wife about his or her estate plan. Perhaps your significant other needs to make a plan that protects the children, even if yours does not.

How Do You Make Changes to Your Estate Plan?

The easiest way to make changes to your estate plan is to talk to your estate planning lawyer. You may need addendums written for your documents, or you may need new documents prepared. Your lawyer can quickly and efficiently prepare the correct documents to carry out your wishes.

Be sure to ask your lawyer if he or she recommends that you add any additional estate planning structures. For example, a trust could lower your potential gift and estate tax liability. It also allows you to leave property or money to chosen beneficiaries either during your lifetime or later on. When you have new stepchildren, you will want to take advantage of helpful planning opportunities for the future.

Want to make changes to your estate plan? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

When to Update Your Estate Plan

If you are working on your estate plan, you may not realize that you need to update it regularly. Many different events in your life can trigger the need to make changes to the plan. Here is how to recognize when you should go back to your estate planning lawyer.

  1. Birth, Life, and Death Spur Estate Plan Changes

When your family changes, you may need to make estate plan changes too. For example, the birth of a new child is a great reason to revisit the plan. You probably want to include the child in the will or trust. You also may want to make a guardian designation for the child. Parents often start saving for their child’s benefit early on, whether for college or other expenses. You can add to your estate and financial planning with trusts, 529 plans, and other devices soon after your child’s birth.

Further, medical emergencies or deaths in the family often necessitate estate plan changes. You may have named a deceased relative in your will or trust, or as beneficiary of a retirement account. Or you may have appointed a very ill relative as trustee or future guardian. Making the changes to the plan now can save you from unexpected issues later on.

  1. Changes in Financial Situation May Require Estate Plan Updates

In addition, changes in your financial situation may require you to update your estate plan. Receiving a sudden inheritance, losing a lot of money, or getting a big pay raise are all events that could affect the plan. You might need to create a trust or learn how to invest your windfall. Alternatively, you might need to plan for creditor protection due to outstanding debts.

  1. Moving or Travelling May Trigger the Need for Estate Plan Changes

Moreover, a big move or leaving on a long trip could signal the need for estate plan changes. You might make an interstate move or decide to leave the country. That could lead to concern for those you are leaving behind, whether permanently or temporarily. Estate planning offers the ability to sign a power of attorney granting someone else the ability to take care of your affairs, in case of issues while travelling. Further, you can create a will or wills that take into account your move and your new location.

Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

If you already have an estate plan, you may not realize that you need to update it regularly. But how often do you need to update the plan, and how will you know that it needs some changes? We recommend that you revisit your estate plan just before or just after any major life changes, or at least every few years.

Man and Women holding hands

Major Life Changes Often Require Estate Plan Updates

The most frequent reason you will need to update your estate plan is because of major life changes. Lawyers customize wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents to fit each client’s individual circumstances. When those circumstances change, the plan may no longer match the client’s wishes.

Major life changes that may trigger the need for an estate plan update could include:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Death of a relative
  • Major financial problems
  • Receiving an inheritance
  • Moving
  • Buying a house or other property
  • Changing jobs

Everyone’s circumstances are different, and you may experience other changes that lead you to change your plan. For example, some people decide to edit their wills after major disagreements with relatives or losing touch with family.

Other Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

In addition, you may need to update your plan (but not know it!) if the laws change in your state or nationwide. In particular, many changes to the federal tax laws went into effect at the beginning of 2018. The new estate tax provisions could affect your plan.

Another reason to change your plan could arise over time. As you increase retirement savings or begin thinking about your legacy to your relatives, you may want to set up more estate planning. You could start a family trust, decide to open a foundation, or want to sign a medical directive. Updating your estate plan every few years will keep your planning in line with your goals.

Want to update your estate plan today? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.