To make sure they are still good, you should check your estate planning documents frequently, especially with big life changes like births, marriages, divorces, and moving to another state. Children grow up, marriages dissolve, property gets sold, residences change. That is why we recommend that you consult us for an estate-plan check-up every three years or so.
What Happens If You Retire in Another State?
If you retire to another state, your will would probably be good, but powers of attorney vary from state to state. Documents from the “old” state might not work in the “new” one, and your documents would not be there for you when you need them.
How Does a Spouse or Ex-spouse Affect My Estate Plan?
Suppose you willed your property to your spouse and appointed that person to be your power of attorney. You got divorced, but you never got around to changing your plan. The law would usually step in to prevent your ex-spouse from inheriting, but you might be stuck with that person holding power of attorney over your property and health care.
Maybe you named your ex-spouse’s father as your executor and agent. Now he can not stand you and blames you for the break-up.
How Do I Divide my Assets Equally to my Children?
Perhaps you willed your property to your two children equally – but now one child is addicted to opioids. Your will did not restrict how money should be spent. If your addicted child inherits a lot of money in one chunk, that money could vanish to drugs and your child’s survival might be at risk.
Or, you deeded your house to one child and made a will leaving money to your other child. Then you forgot about the deed and made another will, years later. That will split everything equally. The law would invalidate the second will as to the house, because deeds control over wills. However, the second will would still split the remaining property equally. Consequently, one child might end up receiving more value than the other. That unfairness might sour the children against each other forever.
If you got divorced, sold property, moved to another state, or did your documents more than five years ago, come see us for an estate plan check-up.
When it comes to estate planning, “once is not done.” Please contact our Spokane office today or schedule a consultation to discuss your legal matters. We would be happy to help you and welcome your call.
No Legal Advice Intended. This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues or problems.