The Legal Way Episode 12 | Adapting Your Legacy: Estate Planning While Navigating Life Changes

In this episode, we are joined by Friedman Schuman estate planning attorney, Alex Gusikoff, delve into a crucial aspect of estate planning – adapting to changing circumstances. Join us as we explore scenarios where life events like divorce, loss, or new additions to the family may necessitate adjustments to your estate plan. We’ll discuss the legal and financial considerations, offer expert guidance, and provide valuable insights to help you navigate these transitions while safeguarding your legacy and the financial well-being of your loved ones. Whether you’re a seasoned planner or new to the world of estate planning, this episode offers essential knowledge on ensuring your estate plan aligns with your ever-evolving life.


Alyson: Hi everyone and welcome back to The Legal Way podcast by Friedman Schuman. My name is Alyson Layser and I’m your host. I’m also the Director of Marketing here at Friedman Schuman. Today we’re going to be talking all about change circumstances in regard to your estate plan with Alex Gusikoff, one of our attorneys in the estate planning department here at Friedman Schuman. So, Alex, I’m going to let you do a short little introduction and then we’ll dive into it.

Alex: Sure. Well, thanks so much for having me. Like Alyson said, my name is Alex Gusikoff and I’m an associate attorney in the estate and trust department here at Friedman Schuman. And this is, I’m really glad we’re talking about this today because I think it’s one of the more interesting topics in the estate planning world, which is change circumstances. These are things that usually for our clients precipitate a meeting. We need to change something. So, I think it’s really important for people to both recognize what these different events are and what needs to be done to make sure that you preserve and keep intact your estate plan.

Alyson: Absolutely. So, I’m excited that we’re diving into this too, because like I say on pretty much every episode, I learn something new every time we talk about all of this. So, I’m excited to learn a little bit more about what exactly this would look like for a client when their circumstances do change. First, I think we’re going to touch a little bit on divorce and that change circumstance in someone’s life. What are some elements of an estate plan that somebody should revisit or reconsider or change upon filing for divorce from their spouse?

Alex: So unfortunately, this is all too common. And you see a lot where someone will have their estate plan put together. And generally, if you have put your estate plan together while you’re married, your spouse is the object of your bounty, right? They’re the person who’s generally gonna get everything you’ve got. So usually, a disposition might say something like, all of my assets, all my property to my spouse, if they survive me. Upon divorce, that person no longer your spouse. So at least in Pennsylvania, by operation of law, there is a presumption that a divorce, a completed and final divorce, revokes any prior gift or beneficial interest in that spouse or now ex-spouse. That being said, the divorce event is critical in that it should prompt you to make estate planning changes because not only are your estate planning documents impacted but also your beneficiary designations. So frequently for life insurance policies, retirement plans, pension plans that might have a lump sum or an annuity, those are often given a primary beneficiary—you know, the surviving spouse is named as primary beneficiary. And in the event that you simply forget and you fail to change your designation, you know, that spouse—as a spouse, either, you know, they aren’t the person you want to remain named or that the divorce will make a revocation of their beneficial interest, and you will no longer have a beneficiary named. And in that event, often that’s kind of the worst-case scenario is if you have a asset that does not have a beneficiary designation, because then often those proceeds become payable to your estate, and then you might get hit with double taxation. You might be a state will incur some income tax potentially, and then you might incur some inheritance tax, at least in the states. Yes, nobody wants that, believe me. We’re all in the position to minimize taxes. So, at least in the states that have inheritance taxes, Pennsylvania being one of them, you want to minimize the burden there. So, making sure that you change your beneficiary designations is critically important. It’s also just a good time to revisit all of your estate planning documents, whether that be your power of attorney, your healthcare power of attorney, and your will, as well as your living will. I mean, we are at our firm, we often use a combined form for our healthcare and living will. But, you know, those collection of documents are, you know, critically important because generally, if you’re married, your spouse is in all of them, right? They’re probably named as your agent. They’re probably the first person as your healthcare designee. They’re probably your primary beneficiary, and they probably are administering your estate as the executor or executrix. So, all of those designations need to be changed, and you need to find someone new to both administer your estate and you need to select new beneficiaries. You know, often if someone is getting remarried, you know, that will really complicate their estate plan as well, because then you’ve got potentially children from different marriages, each with stepchildren, and then you’ve got a fairly tangled web of potential beneficiaries if you don’t explicitly lay out who you would like to receive your property when you pass. So those are really the key elements, making sure that you change your estate planning documents and you change your beneficiary designations, because divorce will have an impact on all of those. Another important element of that, which is a little ancillary to the estate plan, but is almost always a part of it, which is the real estate end, often, or for even checking accounts or other savings accounts, anything that you own jointly, anything that’s held as joint owners, the divorce will sever the rights of survivorship with respect to that joint tenancy, whereas you’ll become a tenant in common, as in the case of real estate. And there, your interests in that property are significantly different in a joint tenancy situation versus a tenancy common situation. So usually, those kind of asset distributions will be handled during the course of the divorce. So again, refer to your divorce attorney as far as that’s concerned, the settlement proceeds, the splitting of assets, if that’s required, or any kind of postnuptial agreement. Those will be encompassed within the divorce itself. So, usually, the estate planning document changes will follow the finalization, and that will usually be handled in conjunction.

Alyson: Interesting. So, when somebody is going through the divorce process, is it recommended that someone should look at their estate plan as they’re going through the process or wait until the divorce is finalized, or is there not really, you know, preference or…?

Alex: I would often say, you know, there’s never too early a time. You know, if you’ve initiated the proceedings and, you know, they take a little while, it’s definitely time to start thinking about your changes because it’s, one, not always easy to know who you would like to select as contingent beneficiaries, especially if you don’t have children. You know, they’re…is there. Who am I giving this to? It might be a sibling or a parent even. So, making those decisions is important. And the same is true for healthcare, power of attorney as well. If something happens to you and you want someone to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to because you’re incapacitated, it’s important to know who that person is going to be. Generally, it would have been the spouse. So, again, ordinarily that’s a parent or a sibling, a trusted sibling, sometimes a friend, someone who’s local that they know really well. But often those elements are the most important.

Alyson: Gotcha. Very interesting and definitely very important to know. So, you did mention once that process starts, obviously, somebody wants to go and talk to their attorney about updating their estate plan. Is there anything else in that process of updating beneficiaries and things like that somebody should be aware of?

Alex: So, one important piece may be—and this will not be in all circumstances, of course—but often post-nuptial agreements may have some additional provisions that will deal with how your estate plan or your assets have to be disposed, either for a certain period of time or with respect to a particular type of assets. So for example, if there is some agreed upon alimony or something like that, some kind of agreement, then it may direct that your will has to include particular provisions that say, this person is gonna be a beneficiary of X, Y, and Z asset or as part of our post-nuptial agreement, I agree to, you know, give you X asset and in exchange, you’ll make Y designation in your will for, you know, this many years and after which you can change your will. But, you know, for this period of time, you have to have these provisions in there. And usually, you know, that’s a security against any potential issues. And you could have, say for the next 10 to 15 years or whatever the length, you know, you have to include our child as the beneficiary of your whatever account or the beneficiary of this house. And after that time, okay, that was the extent of the alimony or the extent of the agreement, whatever it is. But often those two pieces, the postnuptial agreement and the will, will often work in concert, especially if the divorce is between older couples. You’ll often see that more frequently in that situation or with clients. And it makes sense. If you have more, then there’s more to distribute. So usually as people get older, they generate more and more wealth. And so, it becomes more of an issue with older couples usually.

Alyson: Very interesting. So, what would happen in the case that a couple is divorcing and they fail to update their estate plans? Are there any implications that somebody should be aware of?

Alex: So, generally, there is a—in Pennsylvania, there’s a presumption of revocation with respect to any of those beneficial interests in the will. So, you know, if your will says, I am married to Jill, and Jill gets everything, and then you have a divorce decree that’s dated after the will that says, I’m no longer married to Jill, and, you know, here are all the pieces that follow, then the beneficial interest of your spouse will be severed by revocation, but often that will require a petition. You’ll have to go to Orphan’s Court in order to deal with that issue. And so that in and of itself is an additional expense. So ultimately, it’s not a world-shattering problem if you don’t. But in the same way that often they’re not…There’s not too many world-shattering problems. There’s definitely some major pitfalls that you want to avoid. But often, what you’re talking about is making sure that you’re minimizing expenses, making sure that the process is easy and facilitated for whoever is responsible for administering your estate, and simply you’re making that as smooth of a process. Because remember when that’s going to happen. It’s going to be after you die. And so that on top of having to deal with all of your stuff the administration, there will be the emotional grief of your loss. Those two things always go hand in hand. It’s critically important both from the planning perspective, I want to make sure that all of my ducks are in row, but also, you’re easing the burden on the family that you leave behind.

Alyson: Absolutely. So interesting. What would be some of those pitfalls or challenges that somebody might find as they go through this process of updating their estate plan following or during a divorce?

Alex: Yep. So, at least for our purposes, it’s, you know, a lot of the issues get a little thorny. You know, sometimes it’ll be on things like, you know, a life insurance contract where you’re a beneficiary and you don’t change your beneficiary designation. You know, there are statutory presumptions, but depending on what the insurance agreement is and what the insurable interest looks like. There may be some conflict there. You can imagine the circumstance. The divorced spouse, they never change anything. The insurer dies and she’s the name beneficiary and suddenly there’s a windfall of some life insurance proceeds and the family of the decedent goes, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, what’s happening here? That is certainly an issue. I’ll say just…popped into my head as we were talking, often, at least for couples that still have minor children, the issue of custody and guardianship will often come up. Frequently, people with young children will have guardianship designations in their will in the event that both they and their spouse predecease. So, they’ll, say, name a sibling or their parent or something to be a guardian of their minor child spousal agreements and custody orders or postnuptial agreements with respect to custody will likely change all of that. And so, your guardianship situation and the custody of your minor children will also be affected by the divorce. And that’s something that is often included in the estate plan that will need to be updated as well.

Alyson: Yeah. Very interesting. I know that, you know, at least in, again, I don’t have a ton of experience in all this, but in the experience that I’ve seen some of my friends and their families getting divorced, I know that having just that plan in place, should anything happen, is always really, really important. I think custody is definitely something that a lot of people are probably wondering about in regards to this. As they are updating their will and going through that whole divorce process is definitely something to consider.

Alex: For sure. you’re right that you know a lot of it is just a peace of mind ultimately Yeah, you know that is part of the package that comes with getting an effective estate plan is the peace of mind to know that it’s in place and that you’ve done it. Sometimes after you know after a will signing or something I say it’s not five o’clock yet, but have yourself a drink, you know be excited you’ve completed a major step in making sure that your family’s protected, that your assets protected in a way, and they’re going to be disposed of properly. So, yeah, it’s critically important.

Alyson: Absolutely. Is there anything else that you think would be really valuable or important for somebody to know as they’re updating their will after going through a divorce?

Alex: So, a lot of the issues will have to do with, like I mentioned, the divorce proceedings and the postnuptial agreement or if there happened to be a prenup, a prenup agreement, those will usually dictate a lot of the different terms as far as how the assets are to be distributed in custody, like I said. So really, your estate plan tends to follow those arrangements, those custody and property arrangements, because those are really what get hammered out in the divorce proceedings. And then you say, okay, this is what I have to do, or this is what I’ve agreed to. Now I need to put that in place. So, usually that will involve some estate planning changes, some designation changes. Often, that’s the most important part. But really, divorce is fundamentally a transformative event, just like a death or a birth or an adoption. Any major life event where you’ve got people coming in or people going out, money changing hands, money coming in, money being split. Those are all major circumstance changes that should and do precipitate major, major estate planning change needs. And that’s usually what we tell our clients. Often those kinds of events happen every five to seven years on average. So, we say, look, if we can get good five to seven years out of your estate plan, phenomenal. But if one of these events occurs, hopefully at the end of that five, seven years, then we’re in the right place. That’s what we can expect. So, there’s a new grandchild born, let’s update the estate plan. Me and your mother are getting in the divorce. Let’s update the estate plan.

Alyson: So, is that five to seven year timeframe typically when you would recommend your clients to at least just look over their estate plan on a regular basis?

Alex: Yes.

Alyson: Or would you suggest even more regular than that?

Alex: So, we’ll usually, it depends on the client’s circumstance, but their estate planning needs will often, five to seven years that we use, it’s often based on those life event schedules. So, if you think about what happened between 30 and 35, maybe you have a kid. 35 to 40, maybe you have another kid or two other kids. Maybe you get divorced. Maybe one of your parents passes away. Maybe something happens in your family, maybe you get a new job, and it turns out your financial situation is significantly different than it was before. You buy a new house, you sell a house, you buy substantial other assets or property in a different state. I mean, there are a number of different issues that will change your personal circumstances such that you should update your state plan. And so, usually that five to seven mark is our easy benchmark to remind clients, hey, it’s been a little bit, you should probably update your state plan.

Alyson: Just browse right through it. Check to see if anything’s changed. But that’s good to know, because I think that’s a common question for people, is how often should I be looking over this? Should it be only when those big events happen? Should it be even if big events maybe aren’t happening? So, to have that framework for a timeframe, I think is really beneficial.

Alex: Yeah, usually those are the benchmark, but by all means, if you want to change something and there’s a new beneficiary or a new executor or a new fiduciary, that’s all good. That’s what we do.

Alyson: Yeah, and like we talked about in another episode, you can always change it. It’s there to change.

Alex: Five to seven or every other month. I mean, I wouldn’t recommend it. Doesn’t sound like you’ve got your ducks in a row, but you know. If this month is one brother and the next month it’s the next, okay. That’s your intent, I guess.

Alyson: Yeah. So, I know before we started this episode, you made a couple notes about some other things that we could touch on. Would you like to dive into any of those as well?

Alex: Sure. And so, I think some of these other change circumstances are things that will happen in the courses of people’s lives. And they might not really consider them necessarily as estate planning triggers, but they are. And some of them could definitely be their own standalone episodes. But just a few of what I thought important, advancements and disclaimers. So, there I’m talking advancements, and I think people probably have an idea of what I mean, some gift that was made to that same beneficiary during life is to be considered an advancement on their inheritance. So, if you say, in the will, it says Alyson, you get $10,000. And then, a couple years later, the seed is not dead yet. Their will has not been probated. There’s no will in place yet. But instead, they give you $5,000 to say, buy a new car. Was that intended to be a standalone gift or was that intended to be an advancement on your inheritance? Maybe in your will, you say, I’m going to give you this car that I have. And turns out that you already gave the car away. You gave them the car or you gave it to some other person and you don’t even own the car anymore. Right? So, often, a lot of those specific gifts, if specific bequests are being made, advancements and the impact of advancements or whether or not gifts are in fact advancements is often an important piece to consider and something that is often overlooked in situations where a residuary beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries are simply splitting up the entirety of the estate equally and they don’t make any mention of lifetime gifts, and that’s usually the case, then it’s not of any particular import. But there are circumstances where someone intends to set aside some money for perhaps a grandchild for their education or they want to put something in trust to help them with their maintenance and support. And it turns out they give them that money during life because they needed it for some reason or they helped them you know start some business venture and they gave them a big lump sum gift. Is that a gift in addition to your inheritance or is that in lieu of? It’s not something that people often think about but when asked about it they go huh you know I don’t know.

Alyson: It’s definitely something I had never thought about but it’s I mean it’s a really good thing to consider. Like you said, a lot of people overlook it. Because it’s easy. It’s something that’s very easy, I think, to overlook.

Alex: Oh, for sure. I mean, another good example, you know, and it’s a little bit different, but it’s certainly a circumstance that would change the outcome of your estate plan, would be what I would call misconduct or just a general umbrella of misconduct. If you do bad things to the decedent, then it may impact your ability to be a beneficiary. So, I think the number, well, first of all, I’ll start with the most intuitive, which perhaps is a little morbid, but in the estate planning world, unfortunately, that’s what we’re talking about. At least in Pennsylvania, but I believe in every jurisdiction. Don’t quote me on that. But there is such thing called the Slayer Statute, meaning that if you’re named beneficiary, but you are responsible for the death or otherwise kill the decedent, you don’t get to inherit from them. So, some kind of storybook fantasy, you’ve got the great uncle or something like that, and he’s named the young child, and the child schemes a plot to take out his uncle to get his inheritance early or something like that. You can imagine, it’s kind of a concocted storybook. But I like that one only because it is both intuitive, I think, for people to understand, and it exemplifies the worst of the worst in the misconduct area. You can imagine it just getting a little bit less bad from there, usually. So, the most common, I would say, area of misconduct that influences the estate plan is a concept called undue influence. So undue influence is a type of claim that can be made against an estate or a designation in the estate that says a particular person was involved in and unduly influenced the plan of a decedent. They either manipulated them in some way or were responsible for unduly influencing the disposition of their estate plan. So a good example might be someone who is in a confidential or fiduciary relationship with someone, you know, you are their power of attorney agent or you’re their caretaker, you know, close caretaker, and that person is, you know, vulnerable or has—is otherwise—perhaps they have capacity, but they’re, you know, really reliant on you because you take care of them and you more or less hold a sword of Damocles over their head. And that person then, you know, goes to the, to the individual and says, hey, I really think it’s a good idea if you change your designation on this account to me. I put in so much work for you over the years and I’ve really helped you do X, Y, and Z, or hey, your son said this, that, and the other thing about you, and he’s actually, he’s a terrible person. You shouldn’t give him anything. And then, what do you know? That son’s written out of the will, right? And then the son comes back and says, hey, wait a minute. This is an inaccurate representation. I think you influenced my mother’s will and unduly affected the interest that I would have received as a beneficiary, and that was wrong. Or you took advantage of this person who was mentally incapacitated to make a determination about their estate plan when they didn’t have the ability to do so, and you knew about it. Right? If someone has dementia or Alzheimer’s or some other kind of cognitive issue that would prevent them or inhibit them from being able to make an informed decision regarding their estate plan. And someone says, yeah, I know that, but I’m going to disregard it, because that’s what they are deciding to do. And unfortunately, you know, it sounds terrible, but, you know, it happens. It’s happened before. There are cases about it. And it’s often the first thing that I think clients will think of and ask about when they want to contest a will or they want to engage in some kind of litigation regarding the estate, they’ll say, my no-good brother told my mom this, that, and the other thing, and then she wrote me out of the will. She was helping her out around the house, and then she underhandedly slipped a deed underneath some papers and said, hey mom, I need you to sign all these. And signed off on something she didn’t know she was doing. Engaging in fraud, essentially. There’s a lot of different types of bad acts that could be encompassed there. And so, I think it’s important both for people to know that there is a mechanism to contest those kinds of dispositions. If you think that something fishy was going on, there are means to uh… engage in discovery and petition the court to investigate further uh… but unfortunately that can happen.

Alyson: That’s super interesting, I mean it’s really a shame that you know that type of stuff can happen but it’s very it’s very interesting at the same time just how long how it can all come about you know.

Alex: For sure well if you think about the kind of elder abuse and you know uh… you know, the advantage that’s taken of those that are elderly and less able, either because they’re physically or mentally not able. If you think a good example might be scam calls or phishing calls. Right? Someone calls you. You get how many calls all the time from someone purporting to be from the Social Security Administration or from the police or, hey, your car warranty’s out and we need you to give me your credit card information and do X, Y, and Z. Right? These, generally, there are plenty of people out there that are more than happy to take advantage of vulnerable people. And, you know, usually that’s not a person that has a confidential close relationship, but often that’s the reason that it’s so difficult to uncover and why it is so painful. So, you know, that is definitely something that I think people, you know, should be aware of, keep in mind, something that I would say is prolific. You know, it’s not, I’m not dealing with 100, you know, undue influence cases all the time, but when a beneficiary calls me, yeah, a beneficiary calls our office and says, hey, you know, I really think that, you know, a sibling of mine is doing wrong by my parents. I think that, you know, they got a huge windfall, and I got cut out or got pushed to the side, and it wasn’t like that, you know, my parents said X, Y, and Z during life. They assured me that this was gonna happen. I’ve got these pieces of paper that tell me this was gonna happen, and none of it did. And I think that you, you know, sibling or whoever it is, is responsible for influencing my father, mother, whoever, to change their estate plan in your favor, and that was wrong. So that’s unfortunately not that uncommon.

Alyson: That is unfortunate.

Alex: Yes.

Alyson: Honestly, really sad to think about.

Alex: Unfortunately, this is kind of the sad episode a little bit. I know, it is. It’s the change of circumstance, right? What happens? People are getting divorced, we’re engaging in misconduct, we’re doing all kinds of bad things. Yes, unfortunately, that’s the nature of it.

Alyson: It is. I do think we’re going to have to dive in a little bit deeper to that topic at a later date.

Alex: Now, to lighten it up, I guess, just a little bit. I think one important piece that’s kind of an interesting change circumstance, but this one is actually, you know, can take place before a death or following a death. And this is the concept of a disclaimer. So, I think people will generally be, will understand the idea of what a disclaimer might be. But this is not a legal disclaimer that says, you know, I’m not responsible for whatever the content of this advertising, right, or whatever you want. But instead says, I don’t want this property. I don’t want this gift. And so, there may be a situation where a family member says, give all my stuff to all of my kids equally. And one kid is fairly financially secure, he’s doing well, and they’re able to say, I don’t want my inheritance. I actually, I don’t need it. I’m going to disclaim that interest. And instead, you can give it to the other beneficiaries. So, you know, it’s not something that happens all that often, but recently I did have a case of this happening. And, you know, it’ll be by usually assigned acknowledgments. This is the property that I’ve been given, and I’m actively disclaiming it. And more or less what happens is it’s treated as if you predeceased. So, it’s like saying, oh, you died. What happens if you died? Where would the property go? So, usually, kind of like the circumstance I laid out, if you have other siblings and you want to make sure you can take care of one, you could simply disclaim your interest and say, I don’t want that. Or think about it in a different way. Perhaps there’s some piece of property that you really don’t want to own because maybe it’s inconvenient to own it or it’s just you’re not interested. You’ve been gifted a car. You know, my 1950s beater that’s in the trunk, it’s awesome. You can fix it up and do all kinds of, I’m good. I don’t want that, I’m all right, no thanks. My antique furniture, right? It’s on a previous episode, right? All of my favorite cherry wood, whatever. No, I’m okay.

Alyson: Now what would happen if somebody would say, use a disclaimer and be like, I don’t want this, but then down the road they would change their mind? Are they able to get their inheritance back?

Alex: That’s a good question. Generally, no.

Alyson: That’s what I was thinking.

Alex: Yeah. Similar to when you make a gift, can you control what happens after the gift is made? It’s like, here you go, Alyson, here’s $100. Now I want you to go buy dinner with that. You’re like, well, okay, but we didn’t sign an agreement that says I’m gonna do that, and you just gave me some money. So now I’m gonna…go get dinner or something else. Yeah, do whatever else I want. So unfortunately, if it’s an effective disclaimer, ordinarily that would be by, like I said, signed affidavit, saying as much, then there’s really no means to recoup unless you were to argue that the disclaimer is ineffective for some reason, either because it doesn’t actually dispose of the property that it was supposed to dispose of or it’s maybe drafted poorly and doesn’t encompass the property, or maybe you signed it under false pretenses, right? Maybe someone—you know, this is a circumstance that I had run across. You’ve got someone who’s dealing with the state administration, and then you’ve got a beneficiary, and as a part of a kind of package of papers that they assemble the executor pushes the packet in front of the beneficiary and says, hey, I need you to sign these papers, right? We’re going to transfer some stuff. We’re going to move some money around. I need you to sign these papers. And just without thinking, sure, sign away. And unbeknownst to you, turns out that paper was a disclaimer of some big piece of your beneficial interest. That could happen. It’s happened before. So that is usually disclaimers, like I said, are on purpose. I’m just claiming because I have some reason and I don’t want this property for that reason. But it may also be the case that there’s kind of a combination of our elements here. We’ve got some undue influence, we’ve got some fraud and some misconduct in the disclaiming, presenting you with papers that you didn’t read or I lied to you about what they are. So, there’s all kinds of different circumstances that could play out. But, they’re all interesting. I’ll say they’re pretty outside the normal. A lot of these circumstances, they make for really good law school casebooks, and they do come up, and it’s important to have them in mind and to have an estate planning attorney that you’re comfortable with, that you’re familiar with, that can explain these concepts to you. But at the end of the day, it’s not something that you should lose sleep over.

Alyson: But it’s good to be aware of. Good to know.

Alex: But it’s super important to be aware of. Because if you don’t, then these issues come up down the line and, well, how come I didn’t know about this before? You never want to be in that sort of space.

Alyson: No, never. Definitely not a situation you want to be in. Is there anything else that you would like to share in regards to any of the things that we touched on before we wrap up?

Alex: I think I would just reiterate, at least on the divorce where we started, on divorce and children. I think it’s just a very important estate planning idea generally that circumstances will change and when they do, you need to update your estate plan. That means, and I reiterated this in a previous episode, like I always do, life changes, your estate plans should change with you. You hope to get a couple of years out of your estate plan. Usually, we use five to seven as a good benchmark, but different life events will happen, divorce, birth, death, all kinds of things. So, it’s critical that when those events happen, you’ve got to trust a state planning attorney and you can talk about them, work out the issues and get your documents in order. Because there’s nothing better than having the peace of mind to know that you’ve dealt with it, your plan is in place in the way that you intend.

Alyson: Absolutely, that peace of mind is definitely huge and something that. I hope everybody who is creating their estate plan, they get that by planning ahead and really just kind of putting it all on paper and having it all written out. But this was great, super interesting. I know, again, I say this at the end, I learned a lot. So, this was really, really wonderful. And I know that some of these topics that we briefly touched on towards the end, I think we’re gonna have to take a deeper dive into these at a later date. So, I’m excited about that.

Alex: By the sounds of it, we’re just getting started.

Alyson: I think so, we’re just scratching the surface. There’s a whole other realm of estate planning we can go.

Alex: Oh, we get very interesting. I guess you get very dry too, but.

Alyson: Let’s stick with the interesting stuff. Yes. Well, thanks again, Alex, so much for joining us and we’re excited to have you back soon.

Alex: Awesome, thanks so much for having me.


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If you are worried about dementia, understanding the importance of estate planning is critical. Keep reading to learn what you should know.

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