By Jennifer Corcoran, Esq.
The coming of a new year often has us reflecting back on things we meant to do but did not get done or looking forward to things we wish to accomplish. It is the perfect time to put an estate plan in place or review your existing estate plan for any changes that may need to be made.
In addition, major life changes such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, a death in the family or even an increase or decrease in assets or income warrant updating your estate plan.
You may have had the foresight to create an estate plan to ensure that your assets are distributed the way you want them to be after you are gone. However, each new year brings updates to laws and potential life changes, all of which should be reflected in your estate plan.
What if you don’t have an estate plan? The new year is the perfect time to create one, no matter how many—or few—assets you may have. Among the many benefits, an estate plan can help to protect families with children and ensure that heirs are not overburdened with debts or taxes. A good estate plan, created with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, allows you to control the distribution of your assets according to your wishes.
It is important that your will is in place and up to date, because without a will, your assets could pass under the intestacy laws to persons you do not intend or wish to receive them. You cannot pass assets to nonfamily members, and your estate cannot make charitable contributions without a will.