Is It Time to Revise Your Estate Plan?

According to media reports, only 1 in 3 Americans have an estate plan in place. If you do, then we congratulate you. You have shown great initiative at getting important legal documents in place and can exhale a well-deserved sigh of relief.

However, any estate plan can eventually become outdated. It never hurts to take a fresh look at a plan and make changes to protect your loved ones or preserve the value of the estate. And, in the following situations, you absolutely should contact our Reno estate planning lawyer to update your will, trust, and other estate planning documents.

Situation #1: You Get Divorced

Divorce will have an immediate effect on your estate plan. According to Nevada Revised Statutes § 111.781, a divorce automatically revokes any disposition of property made in a will or trust. So if you left property to your spouse, he or she can no longer inherit it under the will. By revising your estate plan, you can name a new beneficiary, or, if you still want your ex to receive the property, redraft your will so that the gift is effective.

A divorce also revokes any nomination to serve as your estate’s personal representative or as an agent or guardian. Perhaps you named alternates in your will or advance directives, like a durable power of attorney. If not, then you face the prospect of having no one serving in that role if you become incapacitated. We strongly recommend meeting with our Reno estate planning lawyer to revise all appropriate documents after divorce.

Situation #2: You Have a Child

Having a child is a great time to revisit an estate plan. You will want to make sure that you have named guardians for your child in the event you and the other parent die. You can also include explicit provisions for your child in your will or trust.

Situation #3: You Get Married or Start a Romantic Partnership

Marriage is an opportunity to revisit an estate plan and determine how you want to leave assets. Under Nevada law, your spouse at death has a right to a certain share of your estate—regardless of what’s in the will. Still, you might want to leave them more. You can also name your new spouse as your personal representative and nominate them as an agent to make health care decisions.

You should especially take another look at an estate plan if you have started a romantic partnership but not married. Some of our divorced clients have no desire to marry again, even though they are living with a new partner in their golden years. If you want to protect this person financially, you should make provisions in an updated estate plan. Because this person is not your spouse, they do not have automatic rights to a share of your estate when you die.

Situation #4: You Need to Change Your Personal Representative or Agents

These people play a critical role when you are incapacitated or die. There are reasons to revise an estate plan to change who will serve:

  • Your personal representative or agent predeceases you
  • You get divorced (if you nominated your spouse)
  • You have become estranged from the person you nominated
  • The person you nominated has moved far away
  • The person you nominated has told you they no longer wish to serve

Our Reno estate planning lawyer can help you decide on someone new to serve in these roles.

Situation #5: You Move to Nevada

If you created an estate plan in a different state, it makes sense to take another look when you set up residence in Nevada. A well-drafted will or trust should still be valid in Nevada. But you want to make sure. And other pieces of an estate plan might not be effective if they were drafted according to a different state’s law.

Situation #6: Your Wealth Grows Considerably

If you’ve acquired more money and assets after creating your first estate plan, it’s probably time to revisit it. As long as the assets are in your name, they should pass via a will. However, you might want to change who will receive them. There might also be tax considerations that alter how you leave your estate.

Call Our Firm to Learn More

Cross Law Group is happy to help anyone with their estate planning needs. Whether you have no estate plan in place, or want to revise an already existing plan, we can help. Please contact our firm to speak with our Reno estate planning lawyer in a confidential setting.