An estate plan is a means for protecting and preserving your legacy, as well as a vehicle that allows you to care for your loved ones financially once the you have passed on. However, an estate plan executed when you were a young adult may not address the many life changes you have experienced since.
Senior adults in Myrtle Beach who executed an estate plan when they were younger should review their estate plan periodically to ensure it still meets their needs. The following are some life changes that could affect a person’s estate plan.
- Moving to another state. Because estate planning laws, including inheritance laws and estate tax laws, vary from state-to-state, it is important that an estate plan executed in one state is valid in your new state of residence and that it meets your wishes.
- The death of a spouse or a divorce. If your spouse pre-deceases you, you may need to update your estate plan to reflect this. In addition, if you and your spouse divorced, you will likely want to ensure your ex will not inherit your estate. Also, if you remarry, you will likely want to include your new spouse in your estate plan. Beneficiary designations on certain accounts will also need to be updated if a spouse dies, you divorce or you re-marry.
- You obtain a significant amount of assets. Over the course of your lifetime, it is likely that you will accumulate assets that you would like to see passed on to loved ones. It is important to review your estate plan to ensure the distribution of these new assets meets your wishes.
- Executors or trustees can no longer fulfill their duties. An executor to your estate or trustee chosen when you were younger may not be an appropriate choice in your senior years. For example, they may no longer be able to fulfill their roles due to death, age or if they moved away. Changes to your estate over the years may also make someone else a more appropriate person to fulfill this role.
These are only some reasons to consider reviewing and updating your estate plan in your senior years. No one wants to have their loved ones subjected to lengthy and expensive court proceedings because an estate plan is no longer valid, is outdated or is contested. While estate planning issues can cause some anxiety, it is good to know that attorneys are available to address these concerns and provide practical legal solutions that will help ensure an estate plan that was created years ago still meets your needs.