Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not a process that you do once and then never revisit it. It’s instead something that you should expect to do at different stages of your life including when you get engaged, married, have a child, you get divorced and as you age.
If you’re single and in a committed relationship, then you may want your significant other to inherit some or all of your assets if something were to happen to you. You may also want them to be able to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. If you do, then you will need to update your estate planning documents to reflect this.
Once you’re engaged, you may want to discuss with your partner the idea of signing a prenuptial agreement. It can help you both protect any assets that were yours prior to the marriage. It can also shield you both from certain liabilities that you may otherwise assume upon marriage.
After you’ve walked down the aisle, you’ll want to once again revisit your estate planning documents. You’ll want to make sure that your health care proxy and durable power of attorney both reflect their names as your appointee. You should also take the time to draft a will if you haven’t done so already. If you fail to do this, then some of your assets may go to both your spouse and your parents per state law.
One of the most important documents that you’ll need to revisit once you have kids is your will. You’ll need to make sure that you include a provision spelling out who you’d want to be appointed as their guardian if something were to happen to you. You may want to set up a trust to fund any costs associated with raising them. You may want to outline what assets that you’d like to leave to them as well.
There are many other times during your life when you may wish to revisit your estate plan including as you divorce, retire, become ill or as you age. An estate planning attorney in Frederick can advise you what documents you draft or update at different points in your life here in Maryland.