Back to School Means Back to Estate Planning

Your estate plan should be viewed as a living, breathing plan. It’s not something you can sit down with an attorney one time and sort out. There will be necessary maintenance over time, and while the general rule is you should update your estate plan every three to five years, the “back to school” season is another great opportunity to take a look.

It’s not just an easy reminder on the calendar – your estate may look different after the summer months and with your kids going off to school. Big life changes like marriage, divorce, death and major changes in assets are all signs it’s time to update your plan.

First of all, your children who are now 18 and going off to college are considered legal adults. This means they are granted autonomy over their own medical and financial decisions. Unlike high school, you will no longer have legal access to all medical records nor will you be involved in those decisions.

The only way to ensure you continue to have access to this information and these decisions is through a Durable Power of Attorney. These forms will grant you continued access to medical records and decisions for your children who are off on their own in college. You don’t want to run into a situation where your child is incapacitated at a hospital and you’re unable to find out which hospital they’re in, what condition they’re in, or what decisions are being made for them.

The next most obvious change could relate to the family car. It’s often a tradition for parents to hand off the keys and ownership of a family vehicle to their children when they go off to college. If this is the case for your family, you need to ensure your estate plan doesn’t account for the vehicle you no longer own. This also applies to situations where parents have put up a large sum of money to take care of college expenses. Some estate plans won’t be impacted by thousands of dollars being spent but others will need to adjust accordingly.

Ultimately, there are numerous reasons the early fall is a great time for families to adjust and update estate plans. Our estate plans should be fulfilling the goals of the entire family and should reflect any recent changes. A lot can change in the summer months for families and failing to update your plan could leave your estate in the lurch. Don’t let this be you – contact Velazquez Consumer Law, LLC to get your estate plan updated in Illinois. We can help shield you and your family from surprises.

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Velazquez Consumer Law

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