When you make your estate plan, it is your death you have in mind. So it might seem odd to suggest you need to think about other people dying. Surely they have their own estate plans for that?
Hopefully, they do, but their death can still affect your estate plan if they fall into one of the following categories:
Someone you intended to leave things to
You’ve got three kids, and your plan details who will get when you die. If one of them dies before you, you need to remove them from your plan and redistribute those assets. If you do not, it could delay probate or even cause disputes between the surviving kids as to who gets what.
Someone you hoped to perform a role for you
A good estate plan will nominate people to take on specific roles. For example:
- A power of attorney: You might have more than one of these. They can carry out certain tasks on your behalf if you get injured or ill and cannot do so, such as advising doctors of your healthcare wishes or signing legal documents for you.
- A guardian: This only applies if you have kids who have not yet reached 18 years of age, but it is a crucial role.
- An executor: They are in charge of implementing your plan once you die.
- A trustee: They will manage the assets you put into the trust according to your instructions. This role might last for years after your death.
If you realize it is time to update your estate plan because someone has died, seek legal help to make the necessary changes.