No one wants to leave behind a mess for their loved ones to deal with. The goal of estate planning is to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes and in the easiest possible way for your heirs. Unfortunately, should you pass away unexpectedly and without updating your will and other relevant documents, it can leave your family scrambling to fill in the gaps.
Sometimes, after a person has a will in place, they experience a major change in their life, such as: a marriage, a birth of a child or a drastic shift in their financial circumstances. Such changes can give rise to significant estate planning concerns, and it can be important, in the wake of such changes, to look into updating one's will to address these concerns. Estate planning attorneys can answer questions about what impacts a certain major life change could have in regards to a will and estate plan and can help individuals with the will updating process.
Many New York residents likely saw and read the news stories about the fatal car accident that claimed the life of actor Paul Walker last November. At the time of his death, the 40-year-old star of the Fast & Furious movies was worth an estimated $25 million. He was survived by his 15-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, his long-time girlfriend of seven years and his parents.
Many people wrongly think of estate planning as a one-time event. For most people, however, life changes necessitate that changes also be made to important estate planning documents. While an individual may choose to update or revise estate planning documents for many reasons and at any point in life, appropriate changes and updates should always be made when it comes to the following major life events.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, every day across the U.S., an estimated 8,000 individuals turn age 65. This trend is expected to continue for the next several years as individuals who make up the baby boomer generation approach and live out their retirement years. A large percentage of these baby boomers will inherit assets from deceased parents and many will have concerns and questions related to how to protect, invest and grow those assets.
We often provide information and advice related to estate planning in terms of establishing a will, trust or living will. However, every year millions of Americans are on the receiving end of those wills and trusts and must sort out what to do with inherited assets.
Many people wrongly assume that only very wealthy individuals or those with many assets and belongings need an estate plan. In reality, however, even individuals of modest means likely have sentimental possessions they wish to leave to children, grandchildren or close friends. Depending on an individual’s circumstances, estate planning can mean very different things and an estate plan should be tailored to each individual's unique needs and ultimate goals.
In our last blog post, we discussed the benefits of designating a power of attorney when planning for future financial needs and security. We also looked at how family members can gain conservatorship rights in cases where a loved one has failed to designate a POA. In this post, we'll examine the benefits of establishing a health care directive and why doing so is especially important for those individuals over the age of 65.