The holiday season “officially” arrives this week, with the Thanksgiving holiday. Family and friends will gather, often honoring years-long traditions – the meal, the desserts, the parades, and the football game, all kicking off the seasonal holidays. One tradition that may not be on many families’ lists but should be is an annual review of their estate plan with their estate planning lawyer.
Why Review Your Estate Plan?
A lot can happen in a year. Divorce. New children or grandchildren. A death in the family. Changes in your investments. Any one of these situations could constitute a change to your estate plan. Unfortunately, if you are not taking the time to go back and review your plan on a regular basis, you may very well forget to update it. This can create all sorts of issues, including a need for probate, overlooked heirs, and even the distribution of assets to an ex-spouse and/or their extended family. So make an estate plan review a part of your end-of-the-year financial review process.
What to Look for in Your Estate Plan Review
First and foremost, your annual review should begin with a valid will. If you do not yet have one, then it is important that you speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer for assistance. Secondly, consider whether you are still comfortable with your current heirs or trustees. You should also review the current guardian(s) for any minor children. Is this person still living? Are they still interested? Are they still a viable choice? Or has someone else emerged as the better option? Lastly, talk to your estate planning lawyer about any major changes to tax and estate laws over the past year to ensure you are taking full advantage of tax exemptions, deductions, and other important estate planning strategies.
Even Unmarried Couples Should Have an Estate Plan
Many long-term couples choose to live together without actually getting married. It is just as important for these couples to have an estate plan in place. If a couple has lived together for years without legally getting married. If the couple did not have an estate plan in place, they are putting each other in serious financial jeopardy should one of them pass away. Without a will or other legal tools in place, should one partner die, their adult children could claim rights to that partner’s estate, including the couple’s home and other assets.
It’s not just property and assets that could be affected. There are other issues that could affect one partner’s rights over the other’s estate, such as a healthcare power of attorney. Without one in place, unmarried partners have no authority to determine medical care decisions for each other.
Contact Our Sacramento Estate Planning Law Firm
If you need help creating or reviewing an estate plan for your family, contact Yee Law Group Inc. today to meet with a Sacramento estate planning lawyer and find out the best options for protecting the interest of your heirs with thoughtful and creative estate planning strategies.