As John Lennon once said, or rather, sang, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” Of course, he was right. Just consider everything you have been through in the past couple of months, or the past decade, for that matter.
If you have an estate plan and your family circumstances have changed in any way since you created it, it may be time for an update. Specifically, you may want to review it with your experienced estate planning attorney if any of the following life scenarios have occurred.
Life Scenario 1: Change in Marital Status. Experts recommend amending the legal documents in your Florida estate plan to reflect significant changes in marital status. These include:
· Common law marriage
· The death of a spouse
By reviewing your last will and testament and other documents in these circumstances, you can ensure you are protecting and providing for the people you love. You can even work with your estate planning attorney to develop a strategy which can help ensure that people you do not want involved cannot lay claim to any or all of your estate.
Life Scenario 2: Changes in parental status. You may also want to consult your estate planning attorney about revising your estate plan if your parental status has changed. While this concept may sound strange, an update is likely warranted if you:
· Had a baby
· Adopted a child
· Had minor children who are now adults
· Have stepchildren
Having a current Florida estate plan is especially important with regards to the latter. This is because stepchildren are not recognized as beneficiaries if you die intestate, or without a last will and testament. Discuss with your estate planning attorney how they should be incorporated into your legacy planning.
Life Scenario 3: You have changed your mind. It is fine to change your mind with regard to your planning at any time and you may change it so long as you still have capacity to make decisions for yourself. You may want to talk to your estate planning attorney to make sure that your estate plan reflects your current wishes. Perhaps you have had a disagreement with someone you originally named as a guardian, trustee, or personal representative in your planning. Maybe an unfortunate change in circumstances prompted the decision to remove someone as a beneficiary. Regardless of what led to your decision, it is important to make changes accordingly.
Even if you have not changed your mind or experienced any of the significant life changes we have mentioned, it is important to review your estate plan from time to time. As estate planning attorneys we are happy to help you craft a strategy that best suits your immediate and future needs. We are also happy to review your current plan. In any case, we encourage you to phone our law firm to schedule an appointment at any time.