The following is a list of events that warrant setting up an appointment with your estate planning attorney:
- First Marriage – In most instances when a couple marries, they will want reciprocal wills that leave their estates to each other and nominate each to serve as executor of the other’s estate. If one spouse is wealthy, he/she may want to consult with their attorney regarding a prenuptial agreement (sometimes referred to as an antenuptial agreement).
- Children – When children come into the picture, you will want to make sure your will addresses who should be guardian for your minor children if your spouse is unavailable. Also, if you have accumulated some assets and/or you own life insurance, you may want a contingent trust for the benefit of your children if your spouse fails to survive you.
- Divorce – In the event that you divorce, you will want to change your estate planning documents, and make sure that you update all beneficiary designations. For an example of why you want to update your beneficiary designations, see our earlier post, discussing Kennedy v. Plan Administrator For DuPont Savings Plan.
- Plans to Remarry – If you have been married before and plan to remarry, you may want to discuss the various issues raised by a blended family. A blended family makes estate planning more complicated and communication with your family may be very important. It may be advisable to create a prenuptial agreement.
- Significant Changes in Your Assets – A change in the value of your assets, the type of assets, or titling of assets may lead to a change in your tax planning strategy and/or the disposition of assets.
- Significant Changes in the Law – Over time, the laws affecting probate, estate planning and tax planning change. It is a good idea to periodically review your estate plan and personal information with your attorney in the event of such changes.