Six Signs When to Visit an Estate Planning Lawyer

Lawyers can be a little bit like doctors: hardly anyone enjoys visiting a doctor or lawyer for “preventative care,” but in the legal field as in the medical field “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” “Preventative legal medicine” includes having an estate plan for yourself in the event you pass away unexpectedly: a valid and updated estate plan provides you and your loved ones with peace of mind that your assets are protected and your loved ones provided for after your death.

How do you know that you and your estate plan are due for a “checkup”?


Visit a New Jersey estate planning lawyer if:


You don’t have an estate plan at all.

Even if you are young and have no assets or dependents, it is still helpful to have an estate plan in place. Keep in mind that you can always revise the terms of your will as your life evolves and changes over time. If you pass away without a will, trust, or estate plan, also called intestate succession, New Jersey law will dictate who gets what asset from your estate. An estate plan allows you to know with certainty where your hard-earned property will end up after you die.

It’s been several years since your last estate plan was created.

The passage of time can cause our life circumstances to change. Even if your financial and personal situation did not change much over the past several years, a brief meeting with your estate planning lawyer to review your estate plan can prove valuable in that it can ensure your will and/or trust accurately reflects how you want your affairs to be handled.

You just married or divorced.

When your family situation drastically changes through marriage or divorce, you will certainly want your final wishes to be updated accordingly. You do not want to leave your new spouse destitute because an outdated will gave all your possessions to charity. Neither would you want your ex-spouse to be the beneficiary of your passing simply because you forgot to update your will or trust.

You had a child or adopted a child.

Similarly, if your family has grown through the addition of a child (or, tragically, if your family recently lost a child) you will want to review how your assets and property will be distributed and make any adjustments necessary.

You acquired a significant asset or piece of property.

Items of property that are not included in your estate plan will most likely pass through probate and be disposed of according to New Jersey laws. While small items of property (like a new TV) usually do not warrant an overhaul of your estate plan, the acquisition of valuable, rare, or meaningful assets should encourage you to visit your estate planning attorney and ensuring your plan is updated to reflect how you wish your new asset to be disposed of.

You are anxious about death and what will happen to your family.

If you have a fear about how your family will be taken care of after death, take action and discuss your concerns with an estate planning lawyer. You may discover that your fears are unfounded and unreasonable, or you may discover steps you can take to address your concerns. The worst thing you can do, though, is nothing at all.

Giro Attorneys at Law, LLC is a New Jersey law firm assisting clients and their families prepare for their golden years and beyond. Contact our firm for help creating or amending your estate plan by calling (201) 690-1642.


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