When Life Changes So Should Your Estate Plan

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For some people, making a will is an unpleasant task. Confronting one’s own mortality can make a lot of people uncomfortable, so once the task is complete, it is rare for it to be revisited years later. However, this may not be the best way to look at an estate plan.

Sometimes it makes sense to take a second look at the way things were set up previously. This is especially true when you go through major life events. When life changes, so should your estate plan. At Five Points Law Group, we are here to help.

Big Reasons to Change Your Estate Plan

There are several major life changes that could prompt a person to want to take a second look at his or her last will or powers of attorney. A few common scenarios are:

    • Children: The birth or adoption of a child or grandchild is an exciting life event and a great reason to review and make changes to your estate plan. Because it is unwise to leave assets to a minor child, a will or trust can ensure that children or grandchildren get the full intended benefit of your estate while protecting them against unnecessary court costs and waste of your estate assets. A will can also provide important instruction to the court on your designation of guardian in case one is needed for a minor child. Additionally, once children are grown and may even have children of their own, you may want to make different provisions for them or for their children.
    • Divorce: If you made a will while married but then later got divorced, it is probably a good idea to change your will. The good news is you typically cannot leave your estate to an ex-spouse by mistake. This is because under Section 43-8-137 of the Alabama Statutes, any bequest made to a spouse is automatically invalid upon divorce. This does not mean you should still keep your estate plan the same after a divorce. After all, your previous choice to leave everything to a spouse may fail due to divorce, but this means you may not have made adequate arrangements for others in your estate plan.
    • Health Conditions: Another reason to change your will or powers of attorney is a major change in health condition. For instance, you may have drafted and signed a simple power of attorney when healthy. Today, however, you may be contemplating the possibility that you could need long-term care, home health care, a nursing home, or even hospice someday. With this in mind, there are certain options a skilled Alabama estate planning lawyer can use to modify your wishes to suit your own unique health situation.
    • Assets: Finally and perhaps most obviously, if you made a will or powers of attorney when you were younger or at a time in life when you had limited assets, it may have been a simple and uncomplicated plan. If years have passed, you may want to take a look to see if your estate plan can adequately protect your estate today. If you have earned significant income or amassed a large amount of savings, then you may be better served with a revocable trust or other planning tools.

How an Alabama Will and Trust Lawyer can Review Your Plan

At Five Points Law Group, we go the extra mile to make our clients comfortable. We know that talking about death, disability, and final affairs is never fun, but it can be a refreshing and renewing process. After all, revisiting your estate plan later in life allows you to take stock of accomplishments and truly appreciate how far you have come. So call us today to discuss your plan with an attorney near you.

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2 Responses

  1. My older sister and her husband are planning on getting a divorce so I wanted some tips on legal changes they’ll have to make. I didn’t know any bequest made to a spouse is automatically invalid upon divorce in your estate planning. My sister is planning on rewriting her estate planning anyways but this is good information to know in case there’s anything extremely important she was promised in their will so that she can get it regardless after the divorce in her new estate plan.

  2. I never thought about setting up a trust for my children, should anything happen to me before they have reached adulthood. This would ensure that they don’t get it until they are responsible enough to spend and use it wisely. I will have to start working on some estate planning and figure out what is the best way to go.

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