When are planning your estate, you should recognize that you are entering into a long-term process. The estate plan that you originally devise is going to be based on your life situation and the legacy goals that you have at that time.
Over the years, there can be changes in your family, your inheritance distribution decisions can evolve, and you may find yourself in a better financial position. There can also be legislative changes that have estate planning implications.
Estate plan revisions are probably going to be necessary if you put your plan in place when you are a relatively young adult. Even if you are not aware of the specific change that you want to make, you should schedule reviews periodically to make sure that everything is up-to-date.
In some cases, a beneficiary will predecease the testator of a will or the grantor of a trust, and the individual will never update his or her plan.
This is a good reason to make adjustments immediately when there are changes in the family, but you can also record your wishes in advance.
To provide an example, let’s say that Ben, Beth, and Seth are your three children, and they will receive three equal shares of your estate. Ben and Beth have no children, and Seth has a son named Brian.
Would you want Brian to receive an equal one third share of your estate if his father Seth passes away before you do?
If you would answer this question in the affirmative, you would be leaving your estate to your living descendants, per stirpes. This is a Latin term that means “by branch.” The Latin term per capita would be used instead to make your two surviving children the only heirs to the estate.
Making sure to include a direction like this is a detail that you may overlook because you may assume that you are not going to predecease your heirs, and there are other aspects of an estate plan that you may not think about.
The Importance of Legal Counsel
When you are planning your estate, you are arranging the distribution of everything that you have accumulated to the people you love the most. Because this is so important, you should make sure that the outcome is consistent with your true wishes.
Some people do not seek counsel because they are concerned about legal fees. Yes, there are fees, but these fees are an investment in your family.
Expenses and investments are two different things. A professionally prepared estate plan can actually pay for itself in many cases by avoiding mistakes and providing for efficient transfers.
Access Our Estate Planning Worksheet!
You landed on this site because you are interested in learning more about estate planning, and you are making the right connection. As you can see, we have some very useful content on this blog, and we update it on an ongoing basis.
In addition to the blog posts, we have other informative content that you can tap into free of charge.
One resource that you should take advantage of is our estate planning worksheet. It has been carefully prepared to give you a better understanding of the process, and it can be completed in just a few minutes.
To get your copy, visit our estate planning worksheet page and follow the simple instructions.
Need Help Now?
If you have already decided that it is time to work with an Ashland, Kentucky estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place, we are here to help. You can set up a consultation appointment right now if you call us at 606-324-5516. Our Florence, Kentucky office can be reached at (859) 372-6655.
The number for our office in Charlotte, North Carolina or Huntersville, North Carolina is 704-944-3245, you can use our contact form if you would rather send us a message.