At Thomas Walters, we are committed to answering your pressing questions about wills and estate planning. Here, we discuss the essentials of estate planning for different phases of anyone’s life.
You may be wondering if it’s too soon to start planning your estate. You also may be wondering what tools you will need to form a strong estate plan and how often that specific plan should be updated. Realistically, you should be amending your will and estate plan as your life changes. If you are not keeping the conditions of your estate plan up-to-date with your life changes, then your estate plan will not reflect the needs of your life when it is time for the estate plan to come into effect.
What Life Changes Should I Update In My Will?
There are many life changes that an individual can experience that should be incorporated into their will. First, if you get married, you should change your will. Having a spouse means your spouse will likely become one of your beneficiaries should you pass away, so it is important to have marked down on paper that you are legally married.
If you have any children and continue to have children you should change your will and estate plan to reflect this. For example if you fail to update your will after having a second child, and then suddenly pass away, then your second child is now excluded from receiving benefits once you’ve passed away.
But interpersonal life changes are not the only important milestones that should be reflected in your will. If you purchase a new home, a boat, stocks or bonds, or any other assets that hold value, you should incorporate these assets into your will and estate plan. For example, if you purchase a home, and fail to update your will, you could pass away without leaving that home to a designated beneficiary which might mean it belongs to the bank after you pass away.
What If I Don’t Have A Will?
It is never too early to begin the process of estate planning. Having a while is the only way to ensure that your wishes and your desires for the future are upheld once you pass away. Many people falsely assume that because they are young and healthy that they do not need to start creating a will but that is not true.
Anyone, and especially those with children or a spouse, can benefit from starting with the process of estate planning early. At Thomas Walters our estate planning attorneys make it easy to get started and explain all of the necessary elements of the estate plan to you in a way that you can understand.
What Do I Need In My Estate Plan Aside From My Will?
There are many elements to an estate plan aside from simply having a will. For example, your attorney will help you designate a healthcare proxy. A healthcare proxy is a designated individual who will speak on your behalf should you become incapacitated, in a coma, or otherwise unable to express your wishes while your life. For example if you get into a car accident and are unable to express desires about your medical treatment having a pre-determined health care proxy will take care of this for you.
A durable power of attorney will also need to be designated. This is a component of your estate plan that designates one person to act on your behalf in a legal setting after you pass away. If you don’t have a designated durable power of attorney then you don’t have a person of your choice speaking about your wishes after you pass away.
Depending on your financial needs, your assets, and your wishes for your beneficiaries after you pass away, your estate planning attorney may recommend that you form a trust of some sort. There are many different kinds of trusts, so consult with an attorney as soon as possible in order to find out which one would work best for you and your family.
Schedule A Free Estate Planning Consultation With Thomas Walters Today
Our Chapel Hill estate planning attorneys will ensure that all of your questions about wills and estate plans are answered. It may seem daunting to update your will and estate plan often, but with the help of a lawyer, it’s easy to maintain control of your finances past your lifetime.
Call the estate planning lawyers at Thomas Walters today to get started creating your estate plan, or to amend a pre-existing will or estate plan.