Your daughter excitedly announces at dinner that she plans to attend your alma mater. The following year you are an empty nester and decide to make your winter home your permanent address. Shortly thereafter you receive some sad news: your closest personal friend has passed away.
While such events are significant by themselves, they also serve as notice that it may be time to review your will — or write your first one. Review the list below and use your changing circumstances as inspiration to put your affairs in order by requesting a complimentary copy of A Woman’s Guide to Will Planning in 2019: What You Need to Do Before You See Your Attorney. To request a copy, email our Director of Development, Davida Washington, at DavidaW@ymcaatlanta.org.
- A change in your marital status
If recently married, you and your spouse will likely want to write or review your wills together, adding each other as a beneficiary and addressing your new joint assets, your separate assets, children from previous marriages, etc. If divorced, your will probably needs a major review of changed assets and heirs. If recently widowed, you may face decisions about assets received from your spouse’s estate.
- New family members
Joyous additions to your family, such as new grandchildren or stepchildren, likely mean you ay want to consider adding them as beneficiaries in your estate plan. Conversely, the loss of a loved one – such as the best friend mentioned above – can also mean a beneficiary change.
- Plans to move
Probate and trust laws are determined by the state in which you live, so downsizing or moving to your seasonal home in a new state means a review of your estate plan is in order.
- Changes in assets
Over time, perhaps you have acquired new assets or have assets that increased in value – and may now have the means to increase how much you plan to leave your loved ones or to charitable beneficiaries in your estate plan. There may also be new tax considerations that need to be addressed with your larger estate.
- A change in tax laws
Tax law changes are regularly considered by Congress – especially when a new administration with a different tax philosophy takes office. Your will may need to be revised to take best advantage of the new regulations.
- A change in your health
As people age and have a better idea of their final estate value, many add charitable beneficiaries such as the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta that they may have been considering for a long time.
- A change in executors
Various events and circumstance can make people want to change the executor of their estate. Perhaps you named a certain family member as executor when your first drafted your will but now live in a different state from that person, making the task of executor more difficult. Or possibly your estate has increased in complexity and you would prefer a corporate fiduciary to serve as executor.
- Travel plans
Many people make travel plans, especially overseas, are reminded of the importance of having their plans in order and are inspired to review their will and other estate documents.