According to Charlotte estate planning lawyer, Sabrina Winters, the holidays are the perfect time to make sure your will, trust or other estate planning documents are updated so your family stays protected should something unexpectedly happen to you.
"The holidays are a really smart time to make sure your estate plan is exactly how you want it to be should something unexpectedly happen to you and/or your spouse," says Sabrina Winters. "Without an updated estate plan, your children could be left at the mercy of the courts, your assets in limbo and your physical or medical wishes may not be honored in the event of an accident.
Specifically, Sabrina Winters offers four things to consider when updating your estate plan prior to the holiday season:
1. Guardianship nominations: Have you named guardians to care for your children if something happens to you? Have you made sure those guardians will have the financial resources to care for your kids in your absence? Are you even happy with the people you originally chose to care for your kids? Sabrina Winters says if you answered no to any of these questions, it is time to pull your plan out of the drawer and make a few key changes.
2. The effect of marriage, divorce or remarriage: Is your ex-spouse still set to get half of what you own according to the directions of your prior estate plan? If so, according to Sabrina Winters it is time to update. Sabrina Winters recommends reviewing your plan carefully to make sure your beneficiaries are exactly as they should be in case something unexpectedly happens to you.
3. Are your assets owned properly in the name of your trust: If you have a trust, Sabrina Winters says now is a great time to take an inventory of your assets and make sure they are owned properly in the name of that trust. This is one of the most common reasons an estate plan will fail at the end of a person's life.
4. Do you have medical directives and POAs if you are incapacitated? If you are incapacitated in an accident but do not die, Sabrina Winters advises that you will need clear medical directives and power of attorney forms so someone you trust can make medical and financial decisions until you are able to speak for yourself. If medical directives and POA were not included in your original plan, speak with a qualified estate planning attorney to have them drawn up before the hustle and bustle of the season starts.
"An updated estate plan is the greatest gift you can give to your family over the holiday season," says Sabrina Winters. "It is the only way to make sure your children, assets and wishes will stay protected should something happen to you during this dangerous time of the year.
Sabrina Winters has been assisting clients with all their estate planning needs for over ten years. As a woman, a mom, a wife and business owner, she brings her personal experiences as well as legal experiences to her clients. Regardless of what stage in life you are or your asset level, Sabrina Winters has the experience and skills to plan for your particular needs. For more information about Sabrina Winters, please visit http://www.ncestateplanninginfo.com or call (704) 843-1446.
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