New year, new plan! The new year is a big marker for change. Creating resolutions, forgiving conflict, or reminiscing on all of your yearly accomplishments. A lot can happen in a year, and you have probably experienced a lot of changes. As the owner of an estate plan, the beginning of the year is the best time to revisit your estate plan. There are numerous reasons to update and revise your estate plan, but it's essential to make sure it's up to date.
The purpose of estate planning is to protect the ones you leave behind and provide care when you're unable to. Managing the reality of what you've left behind can not only be overwhelming for your loved ones but can also create a lot of legal friction if it's not up to date. An estate plan is a set of documents that outlines what happens to your assets when you die or are otherwise unable to manage those assets and who is responsible for carrying out your wishes.
What is Included in an Estate Plan
A Will – this is a document that clearly outlines your assets and who will receive them when you die. Additionally, a Will names an executor who is responsible for carrying out your wishes.
A Living Will – What happens when you're still alive, but unable to make decisions for yourself? This document gives consent to certain procedures or treatments before the choice is presented to your family. Some of these decisions include what to do if you were on a ventilator, or required long-term care.
Healthcare Power of Attorney – If you don't have the ability to make choices for yourself at any point in the future, you want to make sure that you appoint someone trustworthy to ensure decisions are made with your best interests in mind.
Durable Power of Attorney – Much like a Power of Attorney, this is a person who makes financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable.
**A Trust (Potentially) – this is a document that helps with your efforts to avoid the probate process. A trust names a trustee(s) who is responsible for carrying out the details of the trust.
Life Events That Can Prompt a Change
- Starting a new job or significant changes in income
- Large purchases such as a car, home, or investment.
- A child is born – one more person to potentially include in your estate!
- Divorce or marriage
- Loss of a loved one
- Relocations – make sure your estate plan is still valid in your new place of residence.
- Diminished health
- Simply changing your mind – this is completely normal and happens all the time.
When you are ready, NC Legal Documents is ready to help update your estate plan. You can get started on your updates by filling out a questionnaire on our website or giving us a call at (704) 492-2588. Our attorneys review your information, provide you with the necessary document(s), and upload it to your client portal.