When is the Right Time to Look at Your Estate Plan?

When is the Right Time to Look at Your Estate Plan?

Provided By: Alan G. Orlowsky

Creating an up-to-date estate plan is a lot like changing the oil in our cars: we realize and understand that both are necessary but we often procrastinate in actually doing them. But just as failing to change the oil in your car regularly can lead to serious engine trouble in the future, so too failing to keep an updated estate plan in place can lead to serious trouble and challenges for your surviving family members and loved ones if something unexpected were to happen to you.

When To Create or Review an Estate Plan

A little sticker in the corner of your windshield or message displayed on your dashboard reminds you that it is time to change your oil. Unfortunately, no such alert or reminder exists that it is time for a review of your estate plan. However, certain life events should prompt you to review and update (if necessary) your estate plan:

  • If you marry or divorce. When you marry, you will likely want to provide for your new spouse should you unexpectedly pass. Illinois law provides for many of your assets and property to pass to your spouse in the event that you die without a will; however, some assets will not. Similarly, any provisions made for a spouse will be invalidated by a divorce. Take a moment whenever your marital status changes and make sure that your estate planning documents accurately reflect your wishes and distribute all of your assets accordingly.
  • If you have a child. The birth of a new child is a great time to review your estate planning documents as a whole because (at the very least) you will want to decide who should act as guardian for your children in the event both you and the other parent dies. This may be the time you wish to make provisions in your will or trust for the continuing care and/or education of your children should you die early.
  • Any time you experience a major life change. Whenever you experience a major change in your life – a new purchase, acquisition, or inheritance, for example, or a promotion or new job that offers new benefits – may be a good time to pause and review your estate plan.

Help with your Estate Plan Review

The Illinois estate planning attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd are here to assist you in reviewing your estate plan and ensuring your final wishes regarding your assets and care for your children are carried out after your death. Contact our offices at (847) 325-5559 to visit with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers. We serve clients in the Northbrook, Evanston, Skokie, Glenview, Glencoe and Highland Park areas of Illinois. If you have existing estate-planning documents, we will make sure they reflect your current wishes and situation and can amend the documents if they do not. And if you do not have an estate plan at this time, we can help you create one that gives you and your loved ones peace of mind.


Updated as of July 2019
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