Frequently Asked Questions
Wills, Trusts & Advanced Planning Documents
When life changes, we often focus on the present. However, the future is also an important consideration if you have had significant changes happen in your life. If you have a will, trust and advanced planning documents, you should consider a review with your attorney every three to five years. If you have no estate plan, we suggest a call to Rodnunsky & Associates
to help you with all your planning needs.
If I get married, remarried or divorced...
It is always a good idea, and recommended, that you revisit your will and trust documents in order to make sure they reflect your current wishes, your current legal name and that they include the names of your heirs. If someone named in your documents has had a legal name change, you will need to make a change to the existing documents as well.
In addition, when children become adults they should have an Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) and a Power of Attorney in place. As financial or marital status changes happen in their lives, and depending on the total amount of assets they have, creating an estate plan protects those assets. Once in place, documents may need to be reviewed every three to five years. If there are further financial changes in their lives, an attorney can guide you through the necessary documents.
If I purchase a property...
It is very important to verify that your assets, including any real property, are properly titled in the name of your living trust. Contact your estate planning attorney to alert them to the purchase and update your documents.
If you still are unsure, or your situation is more specific, call your attorney for a document review.
If my health status changes...
If you have the need to be hospitalized, you are often asked for your Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD). Your estate plan includes that document. You should keep a hard copy or an electronic copy (PDF) of the AHCD to give to medical personnel when requested. And, just like a change in marital status, It is recommended that if you have been ill or hospitalized and under a doctor's care, that you revisit your current estate plan documents in order to make sure they reflect your current wishes.
If a death occurs, documents will need to be changed to reflect the current status of each person named in the estate planning documents, including bank account name changes. Check with your attorney and your banking institution to be sure you are up-to-date.
For those who are named as trustees, financial agents or health care agents in a loved one's legal documents, contact an attorney to advise you on the legal aspects of settling your loved one's estate. Most states and institutions (banking, investment, etc.) require a death certificate as confirmation and will not move forward with any implementation of settling an estate until death certificates are in hand. Death certificates need to be ordered and paid for in most states and may take some time to receive, so it is advised that as soon a possible, order the death certificates.
Without an estate plan in place, yours or your loved one's assets will be subject to probate.