Estate planning may not seem too important at first, but as you get older, certain changes in your life make it more essential. The more you can prepare yourself, the better off you leave your loved ones after your passing.
A solid estate plan is critical. The earlier you draft one, the better; however, if you insist on waiting for benchmarks, these three events necessitate a creation or review of your final wishes.
1. You purchase property
In New Jersey, if you die without a will, your estate becomes noted as intestate. It means that your estate follows the state’s intestacy laws which dictate where your assets go. If you purchase property in only your name, your estate goes through the probate process in the surrogate’s court in your county to determine who gets it. Once you purchase property, you should draft a will.
2. You have children
When you have children, many aspects of your life may change. You now have to make decisions with your children in mind, including how you want money and their guardianship handled upon your death. Dying without a custodial chain in place may mean your children move from place to place until the court makes a final determination as to who will care for them. If you want a say in who raises your children, you want to draft an estate plan with those instructions in mind.
3. You divorce
Divorce is not something anyone sets out to do when setting out division of assets and property in a will. Upon your divorce, you should change your beneficiaries on any life insurance you carry and you will want to disburse your assets to someone other than your ex-spouse. If you pass suddenly and have not made your wishes known, your ex may wind up with the lion’s share of your assets.
Estate planning is not the most romantic way to spend your time, but it is essential in maintaining control of what you have. An attorney may point out some aspects you did not consider, and as such, you may want to consider asking for assistance.