In The News

Published on Saturday, September 24, 2016

Do You Need an Estate Plan for Your Family Situation

Step back for a moment, and let’s take a look at your current family situation. Does it seem to fit into any of the following red flag categories? If it does, you should seriously consider establishing an estate plan, regardless of your net worth.

1. You currently have young children - There's really no time like the present to begin the estate planning process. If your children are still considered minors, there are two particular areas which need to be promptly addressed. In the event of your untimely death, WHO will care for your children, and HOW will their care and education be paid for? While it may be difficult to consider, a judge will be forced to establish these points if you don’t create a comprehensive estate plan.

2. You have problem children or untrustworthy beneficiaries - If you’re concerned with your children or beneficiaries squandering their inheritance, it’s best to meet with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible. You should also consider establishing a legal document if you fear that the beneficiary may lose these assets in an ugly divorce or lawsuit.

3. You care for a disabled child or beneficiary - No matter the current value of your estate, it’s imperative that you take part in planning for your disabled child. If you fail to do so, the beneficiary might ultimately lose their government issued benefits, leaving your estate depleted after compensating for the cost of care.

4. You don't currently have any children - Even if you’re not sure who should ultimately receive your assets, it’s still important to plan for the future. Without an estate plan in place, intestacy laws throughout your state may call for an arbitrary plan to be created upon your passing. Be sure to take hold of your own assets and meet with an estate attorney as soon as possible.

5. You're in a second marriage or have a blended family - Couples involved in a second marriage with blended families are often in desperate need of full estate planning service. There are a large number of traps that come bundled with these sorts of couples, which can ultimately result in resentment and costly lawsuits down the line. By contacting the proper estate planning attorney, you’ll undoubtedly be able to sidestep many of these pitfalls.

6. You're in a same sex relationship or an unwed committed relationship. Without adequate legal documentation in place, one partner may be left out in the cold in the event of any untimely deaths. Plan for the future of your assets with a comprehensive estate plan, and ensure that each partner is protected in the event of an accident, illness or death.

7. Your spouse has recently passed away - If your assets were jointly titled, or you were the beneficiary of your spouse's life insurance and retirement accounts, then, fortunately, probate may not be necessary. When referring to your estate, however, all of these assets are now yours and yours alone. Taking this fact into consideration, it’s important you meet with an estate planning attorney to organize the eventual transfer of these assets to your future beneficiaries.

8. You've divorced your spouse. If you didn't have an estate before the divorce, then you should certainly create one afterward to ensure that your assets are properly distributed. On top of that, an estate attorney will make sure that your former spouse has complied with all of the terms of your property settlement agreement.

If you feel confident that you don’t fall into any of the aforementioned categories, take a look at our separate list of financial red flags, and continue to gauge your current standing.

We can answer all your estate planning questions.

Call to talk to an estate litigation lawyer for more information.

Categories: Estate Planning