Posted: October 24, 2016

Is today the right day to draft a will?


    Yes.  There is never a bad time to create a successful estate plan; however, there are certain moments or events that may make you consider creating one or revising a previous one.  The worst case would be for something to happen to you, leaving little to no time to take care of your family.

    There are certain key moments in each of our lives that creating an estate plan becomes more urgent.  The first life moment that most people think of is having a child.  As those of us that are parents know, you instantly try to do everything you can to make his life easier to protect him. We immediately want to set-up a college fund, a trust, and name his guardians, and these are things that we should be doing.  However, I think we also need to look earlier in our lives to begin the estate plan process.

    Once we start earning money and assets, we should consider a plan to protect them for our family (does not necessarily have to be your children).  Starting your first job, having a pension or a 401k, life insurance, are all things that you should have a plan for if something is to happen.  Maybe instead of being hired, you created a small business, and it is important to have a succession plan in place for that business as well.

    Getting married is another important life moment where it would be prudent to have an estate plan in place.  This is a great time to work with somebody and see what assets are separate coming into the marriage and which will be community.  You and your spouse may decide to write a prenuptial agreement, or, if in Louisiana, just accept the community property regime.  What you decide will impact what you can individually pass down.  In some cases, the ending of  marriage is another moment in which revising your estate plan will be necessary.

    I like to tell my clients that having an estate plan is peace of mind that will save your family money when you pass.  It is important to revisit your estate plan at these key moments in life--having a baby, buying a house, or being diagnosed with an illness - but an estate plan should be in place prior to that.   My opinion is that regardless of the occurrences of a life moment, one should review their plans every few years or so.  

 


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