You should be checking up on your estate planning documents every so often to make sure they’re still good—especially with big life changes like births, marriages, divorces, and moving to another state. Children grow up, marriages dissolve, property gets sold, residences change. That’s why McCreary Law Office recommends that you consult the office for an estate-plan check-up every three-five years or so.
If you retire to another state, your will would probably be good, but powers of attorney vary from state to state. Documents from the “old” state might not work in the “new” one, and your documents would not be there for you when you need them.
Suppose you willed your property to your spouse and appointed that person to be your power of attorney. You got divorced, but you never got around to changing your plan. The law would usually step in to prevent your ex-spouse from inheriting, but you might be stuck with that person holding power of attorney over your property and health care.
Another concern in a divorce is if you named your now ex-spouse or that person’s family members as agents in your plan. Maybe you named your ex-spouse’s father as your executor and agent. Now he can’t stand you and blames you for the break-up. These areas need to be addressed and updated.
Perhaps you willed your property to your two children equally – but now, one child is addicted to opioids. Your will did not restrict how money should be spent. If your addicted child inherits a lot of money in one chunk, that money could vanish to drugs and your child’s survival might be at risk.
Or, perhaps, you deeded your house to one child and made a will leaving money to your other child. Then you forgot about the deed and made another will, years later. That will split everything equally. The law would invalidate the second will as to the house because deeds supplant wills. Consequently, one child might end up receiving more value than the other. That unfairness might sour the children against each other forever.
If you got divorced, sold property, moved to another state, or did your documents more than five years ago, we should meet for a review of your plan.
When it comes to estate planning, “once is not done.”
I would be happy to talk with you and your loved ones about Estate Planning. Please contact McCreary Law Office or call the Jacksonville, FL office at 904-425-9046 or the Houston, TX office at 713-568-8600.
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