Many people drag their feet when it comes to writing a will. If you have not yet made one or have not updated it for many years, there are several triggering events that should serve to remind you that it is time to organize your estate plan:
Marriages and divorces are significant changes to your personal relationships and will affect your intended beneficiaries. In the event of marriage (or divorce), it is important that you include (or remove) a spouse to update your estate plan. In the case of a second marriage (or third, or fourth), you should alter your estate planning documents to ensure that your family and intended beneficiaries are provided for.
When you have your first child, you should have a will in place to ensure that they are properly provided for. If you currently have children under the age of majority (18 y/o), your estate documents will need to name a guardian for your children if both parents die. If you have not selected a guardian, the courts will select one for you. Once your children become adults, you should update your will accordingly to reflect your wishes regarding your estate.
Wills are important and useful estate planning tools and when you start a business, you should look to revise your estate documents. Family businesses may include several generations and you may be preparing your children to take over the business when you retire. Your will should reflect any pertinent business succession plans.
Buying a home will significantly change the value of your estate and any change in your estate value, whether an increase or decrease, and will affect how much you leave your intended beneficiaries after your death. Buying a home may also indicate a move, and you should be sure to update your estate planning documents if you have moved to a different state, since each state has its own laws regarding wills, trusts, and estate taxes.
If you need legal advice regarding estate planning, contact a business lawyer at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss online, or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 (toll-free) today.
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