Life-Changing Events That Should Prompt an Update to Your Estate Plan

Illinois estate planning lawyersIf there is one thing you can count on in life, it is that things will change. Some changes are more internal, such as a new passion or career goal. Others are external. The former, though often positive, are likely to have little impact on the future of your estate. In contrast, the latter may require a significant change to your estate plan. Learn more about these changes in the following sections, and how an attorney can help ensure they are effectively addressed.

Re-Marriage and Divorce

Changing your marital status – whether from single to married or married to divorce – will, in most cases, warrant an update to your estate plan. This is especially true in the case of divorce and second, third, or other subsequent marriages. You should not tackle the changes alone, however, since blended families and ex family members can further complicate an already complex process. Instead, ask an attorney for assistance.

Birth and Adoption

The welcoming of a new child is a joyous event, but if you do not change your estate plan, you risk leaving your newest family member out in the cold. This can be especially troublesome if you have an ex-spouse. Further, young children may be at risk for foster placement – even if only temporarily – if you do not appoint a guardian and both you and your spouse pass away unexpectedly. So protect your children and update your estate plan as soon as the birth or adoption has taken place.

Death, Illness, or Injury of an Heir

If one of your heirs becomes ill or seriously injured, you may need to update your estate plan to better reflect the situation. For example, if a child becomes disabled after a car crash, you may want to assign provisions for them to ensure they are properly cared for after your passing. This may mean changing the inheritance of other children or heirs. Death of an heir should also prompt a change since that person can no longer inherit.

Tax Law Changes

While not all tax law changes warrant a change to your estate plan, others certainly do. In fact, some could significantly impact how your estate is taxed or distributed. This is also why it is a good idea to ensure your estate plan is reviewed by an attorney on a regular basis; they can ensure you are taking advantage of the options available to you and your heirs, and that all new tax laws are being considered. If you have questions about your estate plan and how taxes may impact it, contact an experienced estate planning attorney today.

Schedule a Consultation with Our Estate Planning Lawyers

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we work hard to preserve the best interests of our clients and their heirs. Seasoned and knowledgeable, we can review your estate plan, no matter what changes have occurred in your life, and will ensure you understand your options. Learn more about how our DuPage County estate planning attorneys can assist you. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule a consultation with us today.

Source:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markeghrari/2017/01/02/6-reasons-to-revise-your-estate-plan-as-soon-as-possible/#8c12078e1e12

 

Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples Has Changed – Have You Updated Your Plan Yet?

DuPage County estate planning lawyersAlthough same-sex marriage is now legal on a national level, few couples have thought to come forward and update their estate plan. Unfortunately, this can be problematic. It can also lead to a significant loss of funds upon a party’s death. Learn more about how an updated estate plan can benefit you and your partner, and why it is so important.

How Estate Planning Has Changed or Same-Sex Couples

Prior to 2015, same-sex couples who were not in a state that legally recognized their marriage had to find inventive ways to ensure their partner received benefits upon their death. Many had to take out insurance policies that were much higher than heterosexual couples because there needed to be enough to pay for estate taxes. This has now changed.

Same-sex couples now receive the same tax and gift deductions as all other couples, which means you may be able to reduce the amount of your current life insurance policy. Further, it gives you the opportunity to free up other liquidity in your financial plan. Same-sex couples should also check with their employer to see about adding their spouse to their life insurance policy; this option, which was not often available prior to 2015, can also save you money.

Same-Sex Couples May Still Have Unique Estate Planning Challenges

While, in many ways, estate planning for same-sex couples has become less complex, there may still be some unique challenges. For example, if one spouse has legal guardianship of a child brought into the marriage, but the other spouse does not, this could present some unique issues that need to be addressed in the estate plan. Guardianship may need to be clearly outlined to ensure the other parent receives guardianship in the event of the other parent’s death.

Updating or Preparing Your Estate Plan

If you have an estate plan that was created prior to 2015, speak to an attorney about updating yours. If you have not created one yet, now is the time to do it. Also, please note that do-it-yourself options are always discouraged since they do not always address the unique issues that same-sex couples face. Make sure yours is done with the best interest of you and your partner in mind. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney for help with your will or trust.

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC, we provide personalized estate planning to fit your needs. Dedicated and experienced, we can devise a creative plan to protect the interests of you, your spouse, and any children you may have. Schedule your consultation with our DuPage County estate planning lawyers to learn more. Call us at 630-665-2500 today.

Source:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/estate-planning-for-same-sex-couples-1478541725

 

What the Estate of Prince Can Teach Everyone About the Importance of Wills

Wheaton Illinois estate planning attorneysPrince Rogers Nelson, one of the most beloved pop icons in history, spent his life fighting to maintain creative and legal control over his career. Yet, in the months that followed his death, it became evident that he had not been quite as vigilant when it came to legally documenting what would happen to those assets after he died. In other words, Prince died without a will. As a result, his substantial estate – his alleged vault of unreleased music, his roughly $300 million in various assets – have become a cautionary tale that everyone can learn from.

What Happens in the Absence of a Will?

Prince’s estate is being handled by the state. This means that the state appoints an administrator (who may not be a person you would approve of), and your assets will be distributed to the next of kin. This can be problematic for a number of reasons. First, the state must establish who your true heirs are. Second, the distribution to those heirs may not resemble your wishes.

Maybe you wanted some of your estate to go to a special charity, your grandchildren, or a college friend that supported you during a difficult time in your life. Or maybe you did not want any of your estate to go to a brother with an alcohol problem, and wanted it to go to step-children instead.  Without a will, those wishes become a moot point.

Furthermore, your heirs can do whatever they wish with your assets. Family heirlooms, creative property, and more may be lost forever, sold to the highest bidder, or otherwise mishandled. For example, the unreleased music of Prince might never be heard because the heir who inherits it will get to choose what happens to it.

Without a Will, Details of Your Estate Are Public

Another obvious lesson from Prince’s death is that the absence of a will makes the details of your estate public. It gets discussed by complete strangers, and your heirs have zero privacy. In contrast, a will can protect them from the prying of the public and ensure that the distribution of your estate remains a private family matter. A will can also protect your heirs – and your assets – from unnecessary and expensive tax obligations.

Craft Your Estate Plan Today

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield and McGrath LLC, we understand just how important it is that your estate be distributed according to your wishes. We also know that the financial future of your family depends on our ability to craft a creative, effective estate plan. Our skilled Wheaton, Illinois estate planning attorneys respond to your needs with attentive, personalized, high-quality representation for your estate planning needs. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule your confidential consultation to learn more.

Source:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2016/07/13/law-firm-relevant-info-prince-heirs-asked-share-estate/87033094/