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.



Mapping Out Your Financial Future

estate plan, your financial future, Wheaton estate planning attorneysEstate planning and retirement planning tend to go hand in hand. Having a solid financial plan in place for your retirement also enables you to form certain elements of your estate plan, such as special needs trusts and living wills.

Financial advisors note key milestones that every person should be aware of when it comes to retirement planning. At each milestone, it is suggested that you take stock in what you have in place regarding your retirement funds and analyze any steps you need to take to remain on target.

Estate Planning Milestones

50 years old: When you reach this milestone, you are allowed to make what is referred to as "catch-up contributions" to both your individual retirement account as well as to your 401(k) account. Last year, the catch-up contribution for retirement accounts was $1,000, and for 401(k)s it was $5,500.

55 years old: Once you turn 55, you are allowed to begin taking early withdrawals from your 401(k), penalty-free. However, there are strict rules associated with these withdrawals—the accounts must be employer-established (not IRAs) and you must have worked for the employer up until you turned 55 years old.

59 and one-half years old: At the half-way point of your last year before hitting 60, you are allowed to take penalty-free withdrawals from both IRAs and 401(k) accounts. For those still working at this age, your plan administrator will be able to provide requirements on what is referred to as "in-service" withdrawals.

62 years old: This is the earliest age you can retire and collect Social Security benefits. However, keep in mind that the earlier you retire, the less your benefit will be. At 62, your benefit will be approximately 30 percent less than if you retire at this age.

65 years old: You can sign up for Medicare once you turn 65 years old. Also, if you have been contributing money to a health care savings account, you are now allowed to take money out for non-medical reasons without having to pay a penalty.

Between the ages of 66 and 67 years old: If you were born between 1943 and 1959, turning 66 means you have reached retirement age and can collect Social Security. For those born in 1960 or after, you reach your Social Security retirement at age 67.

70 years old: If you wait to retire until your 70th birthday, you will receive your full Social Security benefit.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney

It is never too early to start planning your financial future for retirement. Contact the experienced Wheaton estate planning attorneys of Stock, Carlson, Flynn & McGrath, LLC at 630-665-2500 to schedule your consultation.

Are You Financially Prepared for a 25 Year Retirement?

25 year retirement, age of retirement, DuPage County estate planning lawyers, estate plan, retirement plan, retirement planning, retirement savings, retirement savings planRetirement and estate planning are very different now compared to past generations. Today, people live longer. The age of retirement has increased and many of us work far beyond the age of 65. In the nineties, the average age of retirement was 57 years old. Today, that number has jumped to 62. Therefore, if you do not have a solid financial retirement plan in place, you may have to continue working—at least part-time—much longer than originally anticipated.

When you do retire, chances are you will live longer than your ancestors. The average life expectancy for a man is 84 years old. Women live even longer and have an average life expectancy of 86 years. Hence, you will need enough money to live for an additional 25 to 30 years post retirement.

In the past, living expenses would actually decrease by about 20 percent when people retired. But today, healthcare costs have caused budgets of retirees to increase dramatically. A serious illness can quickly wipe out a savings account that was supposed to take care of retirement living expenses.

Also, there is no guarantee as to the kind of shape Social Security and Medicare benefits will be in by the time you are ready to retire. This is another reason why it is essential to sit down with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to ensure that your plans are in place post death, and that your assets are in order and will provide for a secure retirement. This may also include setting up different trusts and advance directives.

It is never too early to begin your estate planning. Our experienced DuPage County estate planning lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Flynn & McGrath, LLC offer solutions to protect your rights and assets and will help you plan for a successful retirement. We can assist clients in Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lombard, Naperville, and throughout DuPage County. Please contact our office at 630-665-2500 to schedule a consultation