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Lombard estate planning lawyersAs 2017 comes to a close and we venture into 2018, it is important to make sure your estate plan is still accurate and reflects your current wishes. An up-to-date estate plan will offer peace of mind that your family is taken care of and that your final wishes are fulfilled after you have passed. An estate plan also protects your rights and financial interests while you are still living.  

Without an estate plan, a person’s assets are divided according to state laws. This means that a person without a comprehensive estate plan has little say in how their assets are disseminated after they pass away. If you currently have an estate plan in place, the end of the year is a good time to review and modify the plan as needed.   

Review Your Current Estate Plan  

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Lombard estate planning attorneyFollowing a divorce, the terms and provisions of your estate plan may become obsolete, especially if your ex-spouse factored prominently in your plan. While there are laws that help prevent estate planning issues after a divorce, it is still a good idea to take another look at your will, trusts, and any other estate planning tools to determine if modifications are needed.  

Revocable Trusts

A revocable or living trust is the most common instrument that requires review during or after a divorce. In a revocable trust, the holder of property (called a settlor) confers that property to a trustee to hold for a beneficiary while still retaining the right to take the property back. It is very common for either the trustee or the beneficiary to be a spouse.

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Lombard estate planning lawyerDo you have a written plan for what will happen to your assets and debts upon your death? Is there a documented contingency plan in place for your children in the event that something happens to you? If the answer is yes to either or both of these questions, you have made excellent decisions in being prepared for the unexpected. If the answer is no, it is time to start looking ahead. For those that do have an estate plan in place, it is very important to revisit it from time to time, checking to make sure that the terms of your plan continue to be applicable to your current state of affairs. Estate planning is not a “one-and-done” type of affair; it is an ongoing process that you must continue to address to a certain extent for the rest of your life.

More Assets and Wealth

Assuming that you are still of working age, you will likely continue to accumulate wealth each year. You may set additional savings aside for retirement, or you may invest what you are earning in the hopes of a substantial return. As your wealth and net worth grows, you may wish to amend your estate plan to properly account for your added assets. There may be new tools or tax advantages available to you now with your additional wealth that were not available at the time your estate plan was created.

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