Itâ€™s a new year and a great time to get your estate planning in place or to have your current plan professionally reviewed.
If Youâ€™re 18 or Older, You Need an Estate Plan
Children are covered by their parentsâ€™ estate planning documents.Â So, if youâ€™re a parent, you need an estate plan to protect yourself and your children.
If you are age 18 or older, youâ€™re no longer covered by your parentsâ€™ plans and you need your own. Â If you donâ€™t have one, the courts and state law will create a plan for you and it isnâ€™t, likely, what youâ€™d want.
This means that the court will decide who raises your children and who settles your estate; state law will determine who gets what of your assets.
Are Your Estate Planning Documents Stale?
Even if you have estate planning documents in place, they may be stale if they are too old and/or donâ€™t carry out your current intent.
Documents are stale if theyâ€™re:
- On Legal-Sized Paper
- From Another State
- More Than 3 to 5 Years Old
- Fail to Name All of Your Children
Or if they,
- Name a Trusted Helper Who is Incapacitated, has Died, or Just is No Longer Appropriate
- Donâ€™t Carry Out Your Current Wishes and Goals
If a document is stale, your wishes may not be carried out and legal institutions may not honor it for fear that it is no longer legally valid.
It is in your best interests to call a qualified estate planning attorney in the New Year and get a strong, comprehensive estate plan in place.