When life changes, often your perspective changes. For example, this past year, many families lost loved ones in the pandemic. Those who were older likely took additional steps to prevent themselves from getting sick and potentially ending up in the hospital. Others realized that life is short and they should create an estate plan, just in case.
Unfortunately, many Americans still don’t have an estate plan. In fact, only 4 in 10 of American adults have created a will or estate plan, according to Caring.com. Yet creating a will and estate plan can help, especially when life changes. You can ensure you have your affairs in order and make it easier for your loved ones to know your end-of-life wishes. Creating an estate plan also can give you great peace of mind, especially in the following circumstances:
- You receive a difficult medical diagnosis, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, and you want to ensure your assets go to your beneficiaries and you create an advanced health care directive, so others will honor your end-of-life wishes.
- Someone close to you dies without a will and you realize how difficult settling their estate becomes for their loved ones and how much the state is involved in that process.
- You become a parent and you want to ensure you have appointed a guardian for your child in a will. You also could establish a trust from your assets to help fund caring for your child until they are older.
- You get divorced or remarried and want to update your estate plan or ensure your children will receive specific assets if you die.
- You become a grandparent and want to allocate specific assets to your grandchildren.
- You decide you want to ensure some of your assets go toward a specific charity or nonprofit organization.
- You are facing bankruptcy and want to create an irrevocable trust to protect your assets from creditors.
Keeping up with changes in life isn’t always easy. But when you face circumstances that could impact your family long-term, creating or updating an estate plan can be essential. You don’t want to make things more difficult for your loved ones if you pass away suddenly. With a proper estate plan in place, you know you will have protected your assets and your heirs well, no matter what happens.