People plan for pretty much everything: Where they want to live, where they want to go for vacation, how many kids they want to have and so forth. But, most people never take time to plan what they wish to happen to their future and estate when they are either incapacitated or no longer around to make important decisions. In other words, most people do not have estate plans in place.
An estate plan is a collection of legal documents that outlines what you want to happen to your assets when you pass on. These documents provide a detailed account of your wishes and specify who will act on those wishes in your absence. But, merely having an estate plan is never. In order to be honored, your estate plan must be valid. So how do you ensure this?
Here are some of the ways you can ensure your estate plan is valid:
Keep it up to date
An estate plan is a living document: one that you must review and update from time to time to ensure that it reflects your current circumstances. An estate plan that is outdated is a perfect recipe for chaos. Some of the changes in life’s circumstances that should necessitate a review and update of your estate plan include:
- Marriage and divorce
- Birth of a child
- Death of a beneficiary
Alongside changes in life’s circumstances, it is also important that you keep your estate valid by updating it whenever there is a change in federal and/or state law or when you relocate to another state.
Keep it legal
Your estate plan must be legal to be admissible in court during the probate process. Any elements in your estate planning documents that are deemed illegal as per the federal and state laws may automatically result in your estate plan being invalidated.
An estate plan allows you to safeguard your legacy, protect your assets and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. However, to achieve this, you must start by ensuring that your estate plan is valid.