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Lombard estate planning attorneysIt seems like just recently that we ventured into the year 2018, but soon this calendar year will come to a close. As you ready yourself for the new year, take some time to evaluate your estate plans. Although it may seem like a chore, scheduling regular estate plan “maintenance” is critical to ensuring that your estate plans reflect your actual wishes. Keeping estate plans up-to-date can take some time and energy, but the peace of mind you will feel knowing that your estate plans are current, accurate, and legally-binding is well worth the effort.

You Give Up Control Over Inheritance Decisions Without an Estate Plan

A comprehensive estate plan allows you to make decisions for your future which would otherwise be decided by others. Not only can estate planning tools like a will or trust help you decide how your property is divided after you pass, it also protects your financial interests and rights while you are living. When no valid estate plan exists and an individual dies, his or her wealth and property is distributed to heirs according to Illinois state law.

Evaluate Your Current Estate Plan

When reviewing your estate plan, consider the following questions:

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DuPage County estate planning attorneyIf you have already developed an estate plan, congratulations! You are already a step ahead of more than half of American adults. However, it is also important to understand that estate planning is not a “set it and forget it” undertaking—to borrow a phrase from a well-known infomercial. You need to review your plan on regular basis to make sure that it is still ready to meet your evolving needs. In addition, there are certain situations or life changes that may require you to update or make changes to your estate plan.

Getting Married or Divorced

When you get married, your new spouse does not automatically become a beneficiary in your existing estate plan. He or she will only inherit a portion of your estate if you update your plan. On the other hand, a divorce will nullify any provisions in your will that pertain to your ex-spouse, but only once the divorce is finalized. You will need to choose a new beneficiary to receive the portion of the estate once meant for your spouse.

Keep in mind that you will need to update your named beneficiaries on retirement accounts and other investments. A divorce will not automatically revoke your ex’s status as beneficiary for those type of assets.

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