When you go through big life changes like births, marriages, divorces, and moving to a new state, you should review your estate planning documents periodically. Children grow up, marriages dissolve, property gets sold, and residences change. That’s why we recommend that you consult us for an estate plan check-up every five years or so.
What Happens If You Retire in Another State?
If you retire to another state, your will would probably be good, but powers of attorney vary from state to state. Documents from the “old” state might not work in the “new” one, and your documents would not be there for you when you need them.
How Does a Spouse or Ex-spouse Effect My Estate Plan?
Suppose you willed your property to your spouse and appointed that person to be your power of attorney. You got divorced, but you never got around to changing your plan. The law would usually step in to prevent your ex-spouse from inheriting, but you might be stuck with that person holding power of attorney over your property and health care.
Maybe you named your ex-spouse’s father as your executor and agent. Now he can’t stand you and blames you for the breakup.
How Do I Divide my Assets Equally to my Children?
Perhaps you willed your property to your two children equally – but now one child is addicted to opioids. Your will did not restrict how money should be spent. If your addicted child inherits a lot of money in one chunk, that money could vanish to drugs and your child’s survival might be at risk.
Or, you deeded your house to one child and made a will leaving money to your other child. Then you forgot about the deed and made another will, years later. That will split everything equally. The law would invalidate the second will as to the house because deeds supplant wills. Consequently, one child might end up receiving more value than the other. That unfairness might sour the children against each other forever.
If you got divorced, sold property, moved to another state, or did your documents more than five years ago, come see us for an estate plan check-up.
When it comes to estate planning, “once is not done.”
We hope you found this article helpful. If you have questions or would like to discuss your personal situation, please do not hesitate to contact our Woodland Hills office at (818) 292-8160 or our Beverly Hills office at (310) 230-5686 to schedule a consultation.