Hooray! You made the incredibly awesome decision to get your Life Planning components in place. They’ve been drafted, executed, and signed. WONDERFUL! You might be thinking to yourself, “well, now what?”
It’s a very fair question, and, in many cases, there isn’t much more to do. However, it is important to revisit your plans every three-to-five years, while those with a high number of assets may wish to do so more often. There are also certain life events that might occur, which are absolute reasons to revisit, and sometimes amend, your plans.
Life events that can have an affect on your Life Planning
Over the course of the years, it is common for a person’s needs, family members, or assets to change. The protections that you have put in place in your Life Plan, will only remain as such, as long as you stay on top of keeping your Life Plan current.
Major life events that can impact your planning:
- Marriage or divorce: Spouses, despite what someone on Facebook may have told you, do not automatically become your beneficiary. If you wish for your spouse to inherit property, make end-of-life decisions for you, or have access to your accounts, you must designate them as such in your Life Plans. Additionally, any former spouses should be removed from your documents as soon as possible, to keep things clean. Check out this blog on how getting a divorce impacts your life plan.
- Birth and adoption: As a family grows, it is not uncommon to add those new family members to your Life Plan. You can name your children and grandchildren as beneficiaries, as well as stipulate who should care for your minor children, should both you and your spouse pass before the child(ren) turn 18. There are additional protections for children with special needs, children from previous marriages, or those that require certain funds for education.
- Buying property: Any significant acquisition of property or other assets should be included in a Life Plan. Our Estate Planning attorney can assist you in ensuring that your home is passed to your spouse or child after you pass, as efficiently as possible. You should also update your plans if you move to, or purchase property in, another state.
- Opening or closing a business: If you own your own business or are a partner in one, your Life Plan should spell out your succession plan, as well as dictate how the day-to-day activities should be run, after your pass away. If the business was sold or if it was dissolved, an attorney can also exclude any professional beneficiaries from your will.
- Insurance policy changes: Beneficiaries named in life insurance policies generally take precedence over those named in wills and trusts, so making sure that any appropriate changes in policy or coverage are reflected in your documentation is vital.
- Changes in your health: If you have been diagnosed with any condition that affects your mental capacity or your decision-making ability, it is vital to name who should care for you if capacitated. You should have a power of attorney in place for finances, a designation of health care surrogate, and a living will. If long-term Medicaid is needed, an attorney can also ensure that your assets are protected.
It is also important to note that state laws can change occasionally, which is another reason why reviewing your documentation with an attorney is a good idea.
If you have questions about a reviewing your Life Planning documents in Florida, attorney Mark F. Moss can help you understand what options are best to fit your needs and goals. To arrange a confidential consultation over the phone or in person in Jacksonville, please call 904-329-7242 or inquire online today.
*Disclaimer: Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not legal advice. This is for informational purposes only. It is best to speak with an attorney about your specific situation, questions, assets, concerns, and needs.