No matter your age or financial status, you must have an estate plan in place to protect your assets and your family. A solid estate plan can prevent a lot of stress and hassle after you are gone, while also ensuring your family receives your assets according to your wishes.
While having an estate plan is crucial, it is equally important to update your will and other documents. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Designate a guardian for any minor children
Wills allow you to establish a guardian for minor children in your care. In case the unthinkable happens, this person can step in and provide essential care to your kids in the manner you see fit. Without this addition to your will, the court will decide on your behalf. And while they strive to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child, most parents would rather decide on their own.
Establish a plan for long-term care
Estate plans not only take care of your loved ones, they can also care for you while you are still alive. Long-term care planning ensures you can receive the necessary financial assistance to arrange for a stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility. It can also help you pay for home health care, which ensures you remain safe and secure in your own home.
Review your estate plan as needed
Your estate plan should change along with your life. Even the best plans require updates to ensure they continue to meet your needs. Major occurrences, such as new marriages or children, require a review of your will and trust documents. You should also conduct a review after moving to a new state, getting a large gift or settlement, or starting a business.
Even if you do not experience a major life change, you should still review your plan on a regular basis. Conduct a review every three to five years to determine whether the plan still meets your needs.