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Estate Planning and How to Deal with Changes in Your Life

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

The saying that the only constant in life is change, is as applicable to estate-planning as it is to any other aspect of your life. There is no doubt that as time goes on change will occur in your life. But, change doesn’t have to unsettle your estate planning. with a solid estate plan any of the changes that occur can be anticipated and can be planned for. Here are 4 tips for how you can prepare your Estate Planning to deal with the changes in your life.

1. PLAN FOR EXPECTED CHANGES

The 1st tip is that you need to plan for expected changes in your life. There are certain changes that everyone can expect. For example, if you are a parent, it is more than likely that your children are going to go through the normal stages of life. These include being a baby, a toddler, a teenager, a young adult, and then a legal adult. Knowing that each of these stages are going to occur allows you to prepare for each one. Your estate planning can reflect each of these stages of your children’s growth and can provide a plan for each stage. This way you are not necessarily required to make a change to your estate planning when your children go through each of these stages.

What are some ways you can use your Estate Planning to prepared for each of these stages? Anytime you are dealing with minor children it is wise to have a guardianship named in your state planning. It is also wise to have a Minor’s trust set up to protect and preserve any property that might go to it’s a person who is too young to receive it. This does not necessarily change when a person becomes an adult. You can’t determine the age at which a distribution of your stay would be made to your children giving you the ability to decide when you believe they would be capable of handling that money or property.

2. BE AWARE OF UNEXPECTED CHANGES

The 2nd tip is that you should be aware of possible unexpected changes that could occur in your life. This could be the birth, the death, or the moving away of a loved one. It could also include you moving away to a different area, or someone you have named as a fiduciary in your estate planning deciding that they are no longer capable of handling that responsibility.

By being aware of these other unexpected changes you will recognize them when they occur which leads to the next tip.

3. KNOW WHEN CHANGES AFFECT YOUR ESTATE PLAN

The third tip is being very familiar with your estate plan. When you understand and know what your estate plan accomplish is you can’t then see when either an expected or unexpected change occurs that has an impact on your estate planning. For example nobody plans on being divorce when they become married. However, this commonly occurs. By being aware of this, if you were to be divorced you would know that this has a direct impact on your estate plan. By being aware of this you are capable of moving on with step 4 below.

4. UPDATE YOUR ESTATE PLANNING WHEN NEEDED

The fourth step is actually making a change to your estate planning when needed. In the example above, dealing with divorce, this would definitely require a change in your estate planning. The reason for this is that most people name their spouse as their personal representative, and also to hold a power of attorney for them. If you have this sort of the state plan, and then become divorce, you will likely no longer want to have your ex-spouse hold these positions of responsibility.

I often tell my clients that if there is a birth, death, a divorce, if someone has moved away, or if there has just been the passage of a good deal of time, it is wise to pull out your estate plan and see if there are changes that need to be made. Most individuals will recognize by reading their estate plan whether it’s still accomplishes what they originally wanted. If it does not it’s time to make a change.

If you have questions or concerns about your estate planning, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lve@racinelaw.net. We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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