Last week we looked at how the average North Carolina estate plan will change over time. This week we are going to continue our exploration of the common changes that take place with your plan as you age by looking at additional issues that arise as time goes on. If you’re reading these posts and believe that you need to make some changes to your estate plan, it’s important to schedule an appointment to come talk to us. In the meantime, here are some additional ways your North Carolina estate plan will change as you get older.
Your estate plan will change because you have children.
For many people, the next big change in life after getting married is having a child. Children change your life in many ways, and should prompt you to make significant changes to your estate plan.
For example, do you know what would happen to your child if you and your spouse should become incapacitated or die? Who do you want to care for your child as that child’s legal guardian in your absence? If you created an estate plan while you were single and didn’t have a child, it’s very unlikely that your plan addresses these issues. Updating your plan to include a guardian selection, as well as address other important topics, is absolutely essential once you have a child.
Your estate plan will change because you get divorced.
Even though the much–repeated statistic that 50% of all marriages end in divorce is probably more than a little misleading, it’s possible that your marriage could come to an end. If you do get divorced there are significant estate planning issues you need to address.
For example, should you get divorced you will need to go back over each of your estate planning tools and change them so that your spouse is no longer given the rights or privileges you once afforded through your plan. Similarly, you will need to change your inheritance plan to reflect your new circumstances.
Your estate plan will change because the law changes.
Changes to the estate planning laws at the state or federal level are the big wild card when it comes to making changes to your estate plan. It’s hard to anticipate legal changes, and they can come at almost any time. When big changes happen in the law, you need to be prepared to update your estate plan if necessary. For example, should the estate tax law change in the future, you’ll need to talk to an estate planning lawyer to determine if the law affects you, and what you can do about it.