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Let your estate plan evolve along with your life

If you have a will, you might have gone the whole nine yards and established estate plans that give you complete control of what will happen to your assets upon your death. However, your estate plan -- even if drafted with the guidance of a skilled estate planning attorney -- will be of little use if it did not keep up with the financial and personal changes that occurred over the years.

There are a myriad of potential life events that could drastically affect an estate plan . Changes in your family, your health and even major business or financial occurrences could all result in much-needed modifications to an existing will. The following are some of the most common circumstances in which it could prove wise to conduct a thorough review of your estate plan soon thereafter:

  • Changed plans -- Your priorities or ideas might have evolved over time, and your estate plan must reflect your current wishes, not those you had years ago.
  • Marriage -- The state laws of Nevada will give your new spouse property rights, and marriage or remarriage brings about many changes. There will be your property, your new spouse's assets and whatever property the two of you acquire as a couple, which must be addressed. If there are children from previous marriages, your estate plan may need more than a few simple adjustments.
  • Children -- When your children were born -- or if you adopted a child -- you might have included them in your estate plans and appointed a legal guardian. However, that person might have relocated, or there could be another reason to appoint a new legal guardian.
  • Grandchildren -- When you reach the age of 50, there may be grandchildren who you might want to include in your will.
  • Divorce -- While your estate plan likely provided for your spouse during your marriage, you may want to make some changes after the finalization of a divorce.
  • Illness or injury -- You or a loved one may have suffered a catastrophic injury or you may be suffering from an illness that needs special accommodations. You might want to address the particular financial requirements or consider establishing a trust that would not jeopardize any individual who has special needs eligibility for government benefits.
  • Business acquisitions -- Numerous changes to your estate plan might be necessary if you start a business, depending on whether you have partners and who they are. You can consider creating a succession plan and prepare for the way you want to handle the capital you receive if you should sell the business.
  • Inheritance -- If you or your spouse expect or receive an inheritance, there will be several choices. Your estate planning attorney may show you how to manage the inheritance to bring about reduced taxes or to provide protection against creditors.
  • Relocation -- Moving to a different state that is not a community property state like Nevada could have an impact on your current estate plans, and some modifications may be necessary.

These are but some of the twists and turns that may occur during your lifetime, and although it may seem like a full-time job to keep an estate plan up to date, an annual review can keep it current. An attorney experienced with estate planning can provide the necessary guidance and support through this process.

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