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Creating An Estate Plan: Key Life Events That Merit A Review Of Your Estate Plan

creating an estate plan in Georgia

Once you have gone through the process of creating an estate plan, it’s not the kind of document you put away and forget about until you are near death.

When it comes to creating an estate plan, the events of the past few years have taught us there are a multitude of events that would necessitate significant changes to our plan.

In fact, your estate plan should be reviewed from time to time – at least every few years – to make sure it still reflects your wishes and your life circumstances.

Below are the major events that typically require an update to an estate plan:

1. Marriage or Divorce

The presence or absence of a spouse could have a tremendous impact on how your estate is eventually distributed. If you get married, you’ll want to ensure your spouse is cared for after you pass on. And, if you get divorced, you will most likely want to re-allocate assets to another beneficiary.

2. Birth, Adoption, or Blended Family

The arrival of children, no matter how they come into the family may be a motivation to review your estate plan. Even though state intestacy laws might ensure that each of your children can receive something from your estate, the government may not divide your assets the way you want if you don’t have a written estate plan in place.

3. Buying or Selling a Home

The purchase or sale of real estate can dramatically impact the value and liquidity of your estate. It has a trickle-down effect, affecting the inheritance that each of your beneficiaries can expect to receive. After purchasing real estate, you may also want to consider establishing a living trust, especially if you own property in two or more states. With a living trust, your property could be transferred directly to your beneficiaries after your death. It could also ensure that your house and property don’t wind up mired in probate court after your passing.

4. New Financial Accounts

Changes in your finances, such as a positive fluctuation of receiving an inheritance, or a negative fluctuation such as a stock value crash, should prompt you to evaluate your estate’s distribution strategy. Depending on the amount of the increase in the value of your estate, you may now need tax strategy to limit potential estate tax liability. Further, if the value of your estate dramatically decreases, you may want to re-evaluate the prioritization of who will receive from your estate and in what amounts. Any changes to your estate’s distribution strategy should be reflected in your estate planning documents. This will ensure that your executor will have an accurate listing of your financial assets, and the appropriate amounts can be properly distributed to your designated beneficiaries.

5. Starting or Selling a Business

Business succession planning provides an outline of the way that your business is to be managed. You may need to establish or update your estate plan to avoid confusion when changes in business leadership occur.

6. Moving to a New State

When you move to another state, you should also plan to review your estate documents. Since laws vary from state to state, there are no guarantees your estate planning documents fulfill the requirements of your new home.

7. The Death Of Someone Named In Your Estate Documents

There is always a possibility you may outlive some people named in your estate documents.  Whether it is a beneficiary, executor, appointed guardian, or even a health care proxy, make sure to update your relevant estate planning documents to fill any gaps created by the unfortunate loss of a friend, partner, family member or other named beneficiary.

8. Medical Condition

This could be your own medical condition or that of your executor. A serious medical diagnosis or sudden accident should always prompt an urgent review of your estate plan. It may be time to change your designations regarding who you want to handle health care decisions or financial business if you become incapacitated. Make sure your estate planning documents reflect your wishes and that you have completed all the documents you need.

9. Change in Wishes

What you want for your estate plan when you created it might not be what you want in the future. If you’ve had a change of heart regarding how you want your estate handled, work with your attorney to make sure your wishes are clear.

Planning for the future and creating an estate plan is an act of kindness for your loved ones.

If you haven’t reviewed your estate plan documents in a few years, give us a call and let’s review it together. If you have not yet created an estate plan, there’s no time like the present. Let us help you through the estate planning process and give you the peace of mind knowing you are well prepared for the future and whatever it may bring. Give us a call at 404-370-0696.


Looking to find an experienced estate lawyer in the Georgia area who is skilled in asset protection and estate plan preparation? Shannon Pawley is an attorney in Georgia with expertise in estate planning and asset protection. Shannon can provide assistance with creating an estate plan to include making a will and how to establish a trust properly. If you have questions about asset protection or questions about making an estate plan, reach out to Shannon and she will be glad to help answer all the estate planning questions you might have!

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