By: Tim Stallings
A suitable estate plan provides peace of mind that issues are taken care of and there are not questions regarding what will happen upon one’s death. Although the best estate planning attorneys develop plans that account for future events like a change in the estate tax, it is still a good idea to sit down with an attorney periodically, to have your plan reviewed. Forbes magazine recently posted a great article highlighting five instances when it is a good idea to have your estate plan reviewed:
- Getting married
- Divorce or death of a spouse
- Purchasing or refinancing a home
- New accounts
- Children changes
While these suggestions are a great start, there are a couple items missing from the list. A good estate plan will change throughout one’s life, but there is more to it than simply naming guardians for children and estate tax avoidance. A monster lurks out there, waiting to drain the estates of people who fail to take action and complete more advanced planning. This monster is long-term care. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, more than 70% of Americans will require some type of long-term care. With the average monthly cost of a nursing home approaching $7,000, some quick math shows that many estates will be greatly reduced long before probate costs and estate taxes become an issue.
So what can be done? With some advanced planning by an estate planning and elder law attorney, some or even all of your estate may be protected. Marriage, divorce, death, new accounts and children are all changes that should prompt a visit to your estate planning and elder law attorney, however retirement, ailing health, or curiosity about ways to protect your assets also should be added to your list. For a review of your estate plan, set up a free evaluation with an attorney from AlerStallings LLC.