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When and How to Update Your Will or Estate Plan

When to Update Your Will

If you are anything like other people, including many of my clients, you have probably put off creating a Will or other Estate Planning documents. It is never fun to think about one’s death or the many end-of-life scenarios one can face. However, completing your estate planning documents, including a Will, is a significant step in memorializing your final wishes, ensuring your directions are followed, and ensuring that your loved ones are well taken care of after you are gone.

I encourage all my clients to create an estate plan, including a Will. Also, I encourage my clients to review the estate planning documents they have created every three to five years to help keep information as up-to-date and accurate as possible. Additionally, when major life changes occur, it is also a good idea to update your Will.  

3 Good Reasons to Update Your Will:

    1. Birth: The birth of a child is one of the biggest reasons why people create a Will in the first place. After having a child, it is a good idea to appoint a Guardian and Conservator to take care of the child in the event of your death. You would probably not want this decision to be left in the hands of a Court.   Additionally, when you have another child / new child, updating your estate planning documents to ensure your new children are properly included is a good idea.
    2. Marriage or Divorce: It’s important to update your Will when your marital status changes, or someone named in your Will has a marital status change. Always seek advice and assistance from an Estate Planning Attorney who can guide you through this process. We can assist you with updating your Will to reflect new names and asset changes based on marriage or divorce or other beneficiaries whose information may have also changed.
    3. Death: In the unfortunate event that someone named in your Will passes away, it is a good idea to update your estate planning documents. Whether this person was a beneficiary or a fiduciary in charge of some of your affairs (such as an executor), it is important to make sure such provisions are current and up-to-date. Staying on top of such changes will help increase the chance that matters run smoothly and your wishes are followed.

Why It’s Important to Update Your Will

No one wants to think about death, but having an estate plan that protects your family and your assets is worth the time and mental effort. Doing so provides something very valuable—peace of mind. Failure to plan can result in very important decisions being made pursuant to general, default state laws or in a courtroom, which is usually not an ideal situation for most people.

Creating a Will and keeping it updated means that your family is well taken care of and your wishes are memorialized, known, and respected. Having a properly done estate plan means that the assets you have worked so hard for will go to the individuals you care about most. And if you have minor children, they will likely be cared for by family or friends appointed by you in the event of your passing.

How to Update Your Estate Plan

Working closely with an Estate Planning Attorney is always the best option because having the guidance of legal professionals is invaluable in the Will creation and updating process. Typically, amendments or changes must be done according to the same formalities as the original documents (witness, notary, etc.), and an estate planning attorney will be familiar with all such legal requirements.

At Piatchek Law Firm, we can help you navigate the process of creating and updating your estate planning documents seamlessly and easily to ensure that such documents reflect the most recent and accurate information. We’ve worked with many clients over the years and can be a trusted sounding board to go over your ideas or answer any questions regarding estate planning. Also, we will often highlight areas you may not have considered so that your documents can cover many situations and provide clear guidance for your healthcare team, fiduciaries, and loved ones. From the initial consultation to the final signing, witnessing, or notarization, we bring many years of expertise to the table and take the time to make sure everything is done correctly to create legally binding and valid estate planning documents. Step by step, we can guide you through the entire process so it will be less confusing or overwhelming.

If you would like to create a Will or other estate planning documents or need guidance on updating your existing Will or Trust, please contact me at the Piatchek Law Firm at 417-720-8104. We are happy to set an appointment or talk on the phone briefly and guide you through the overall steps of the process. We can often give you a quote for services based on the information you provide us.

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