For many North Dakotans, estate planning is a task whose benefit is obvious but it is nevertheless often left undone. Individuals may readily admit the need to create or update an estate plan, but may believe that doing so can wait until a “more opportune time” in the future. The danger in this “I’ll-do-it-tomorrow” approach to estate planning is that a sudden illness or fatal accident can prevent you from taking the steps to secure the futures of your family, friends, and children.
Consider Creating or Amending Your Estate Plan During Certain Life Events
Rather than continuing to put off estate planning until a more opportune time, certain life events can also serve as convenient occasions to craft an estate plan or amend an existing plan with the assistance of a North Dakota estate planning attorney. These events include:
- A marriage or divorce: If your marital status changes, it may be beneficial to revisit your estate planning goals to ensure they accurately reflect your wishes when it comes to disposition of your property. In the absence of a will or trust, your spouse will be entitled to receive a certain portion of your estate and property; however, if you wish to leave more or less property to your spouse you will need an estate plan. Similarly, if you and your spouse divorce, your estate plan many need to be updated lest your ex-spouse receive any portion of your estate in the event you die.
- The birth of a new child: Like a spouse, children are entitled to a portion of their parents’ estate upon the death of their parents. However, children under the age of 18 whose parents die are not able to receive property and are in need of a legal guardian to be appointed to care for them. If you do not have an estate plan that designates who is to care for your children and their inheritance if you and the other parent die, the state will intervene making decisions that may not have been what you would have wanted.
- The acquisition of a new, valuable asset: If you acquire a valuable new asset (i.e., a rare coin collection, an antique car, or agricultural land), it may be advisable to craft or amend your estate plan so that the asset is disposed of according to your wishes. For example, if you wish that a land purchase be given to one child and not another, an estate plan will be necessary in order to keep others from selling the land and dividing the proceeds.
Reach Out to a North Dakota Estate Planning Attorney Today
Although it may sound daunting, estate planning can be easily accomplished by speaking with the experienced attorneys of O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys. Our knowledgeable legal team will work with you to craft a detailed and thorough estate plan that provides for your loved ones and cares for your children in the event of your sudden death. Call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys for assistance today at (701) 235-8000 or (877) 235-8002.