Do You Need To Update Your Estate Plan?
Life never stands still. Events keep happening, and often those events affect decisions you made in your estate plan. That is why it is so important to keep your plan updated.
At the Law Offices of H. Michael Soroy, we encourage clients to be proactive about making necessary changes in their key estate planning documents. We invite you to contact us to discuss your specific circumstances. From offices in Los Angeles, our lawyers serve clients across Southern California.
When Are Changes to Your Will or Trust in Order?
Life, it has been said, is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. To a considerable degree, that is probably true. But there is no doubt that there are certain types of events that prompt the need to check your estate plan. These include:
- Death of a spouse or other beneficiary — If your estate plan was premised on leaving a substantial share to your spouse upon your death, it obviously needs to be changed. The same is true of the death of another beneficiary listed in your will or in a trust document.
- Divorce — If you made your estate plan while married, it definitely needs to be changed when you get divorced. After all, you probably don’t want your assets going to your ex-spouse in the event of your death. If your ex-spouse was listed as your proxy for health care decisions, that too should probably be changed.
- Childbirth — When you have a child after completing your estate plan, you will likely want to update the beneficiaries in your plan to include the newborn. You may also want to do this if the newborn is a grandchild.
- Major financial transactions — When substantial assets are added to your holdings, such as from selling a business, stock or other property, it makes sense to review where your estate plan directs your property to go.
Keep in mind, too, that moving from state to state can prompt the need to review your estate plan. Most states honor each other’s estate planning instruments. But it is still good to have the assurance that comes with a thorough review.
Wills and Trusts and the Role of Probate
Probate proceedings in California are known for being very expensive and time-consuming. In appropriate cases, it therefore makes sense to put assets into trust so that they do not have to pass through the probate process.
But there may also be other good reasons to set up a trust as part of an orderly distribution plan for your property that puts your wishes into effect.