Estate planning is an essential step for every individual, regardless of income level or the value of the estate. Just as a solid estate plan should reflect the needs and objectives of the individual client, it is prudent to update these plans as major life changes happen.
South Dakota and Wyoming retirees would be wise to review any existing estate plans to ensure that they and their loved ones are protected as they move into this stage in life. Having an updated estate plan is essential, as failure to do so could lead to complications upon the administration of the estate.
Factors that may necessitate a review of your estate plan
Even if you already have a will, do not assume you have protection against legal complications. If you have not updated these plans in years, even decades, it is important to review existing documents and adjust these as needed, especially as you move into your retirement years. You may need to update plans if any of the following apply to you:
- You have remarried.
- You or your spouse inherited significant wealth.
- You have a diagnosis of a serious or terminal illness.
- There have been significant changes in your family.
- You have not planned for the succession of your business.
- You have not established health care or durable powers of attorney.
In addition to assuring that your assets are appropriately distributed, an updated estate plan can protect money by establishing trusts, help your loved ones avoid probate and even shield beneficiaries from some estate taxes. Medical directives and powers of attorney will ensure that your health care wishes are respected in the event that you are physically or mentally incapacitated.
Protect yourself today and in the future
It is impossible to predict what will happen in the future, but preparation and planning can help you and your loved ones avoid undue legal complications in the years ahead. You may need more than a will if you have recently retired, or you may need to update existing plans, but it is critical that your estate plan reflects your current needs and future objectives.
Estate planning can be a daunting task, but working with an experienced Spearfish or Sundance attorney will ensure that every important matter is appropriately considered. A few steps in the present can provide peace of mind for the years ahead.