Don't Forget to Keep your Wills and Trusts Updated

Bar Association ApprovedWills and trusts could be one of the most important documents you will ever sign. A will protects your assets and most importantly, your family. Once you make a will, you might store it in a safe deposit box or hand over a copy to your attorney and just forget about it. Keep in mind though, that reviewing and updating your will can be critical to making sure your family and financial goals are met after you die.

Think about your will like it is your car. Just like your car, your will needs regular maintenance to work effectively. And just as your car mechanic would help make sure your car runs smoothly, an estate planning attorney can help make sure changes your will reflects life changes and circumstances.

There are many reasons why it is important to keep your wills and trusts updated. Below is a checklist you can use, so you can be sure your assets will be distributed as you intended.

____ Changes in your marital status

____ New child(ren) in your family

____ Child(ren) in your family who are no longer minors

____ Death of a family member or death of a beneficiary

____ Changes in Federal Estate Tax law or State Tax law

____ Changes in the value of your estate(s)

____ Changes in ownership of your property

____ Relocation to another state/country

____ Changes or removal of gifts to beneficiaries

____ New assets or debts

It is advised to update your will as frequently as every 3-5 years, or any time you encounter major life changes. If you need to make changes to an existing will or trust, making the changes on your own might invalidate the will. An estate planning attorney can create an amendment called a "codicil" to your will, subsequently making updates to the original document, printing a new copy, and asking you to sign it with a witness present.

Attorney Search Network can refer you to an estate planning attorney in your area that can help you update your will to reflect your personal needs and give you peace of mind that your will is up to date and valid.


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