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How often should families give their estate plan a “check up”?

All families should have a properly set up estate plan. Even well prepared families who have their estate plan set up need to give their estate plan a “check up”. This article will discuss: How often should families give their estate plan a “check up”?

To start, each and every person who owns assets has an Estate whether you know it or not. Your estate is comprised of everything you own:  your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. Your estate plan allows you to designate how your assets will be distributed. Does this mean you need to change your estate plan every time you receive new assets? No, that would be extremely tedious and the changes would constant and time consuming. All estate plans executed at our office, and many at other offices, include a disposition of “tangible personal property” through a list external to the estate plan. This grants flexibility in disposing personal property and allows individuals to change who or where their personal property is going to with ease and without further assistance of an attorney.

There is not an exact amount of time that estate plans need to be updated after elapsing because your estate plan could possibly never need to be updated. Major life changes are the most common reason an estate plan would need to be updated. Some examples of these are: (1) The death of a beneficiary (2) Divorce (3) Adding a new beneficiary (4) Buying/selling a new house. If you ever need to know if your estate plan is outdated or in need of an update ask the attorney that drafted your estate plan.

A story that describes how this can be very important, a widower has two children, a son and a daughter. The son and the daughter have never had a good relationship and lately are not even speaking. The mother at the time of executing her will had two main assets a house worth $200,000 and a savings account worth $200,000. So she decided to give her son, “my home located at 123 main street” and her daughter “all checking and savings accounts”. Some ten years later, the mother needed to move into full time care so she sold her home. She never updated her will. When she passed away and her assets were distributed her daughter ended up receiving $400,000 in accounts and the son received nothing. If the mother reached out to her attorney and described her wishes that they each receive equal shares this could have been handled easily. Simply, switching the distribution to the son to state “the proceeds from the sale of my home located at 123 main street” would have remedied this situation.

Your Estate Planning attorney should be accessible and available enough to promptly answer questions that you have about your executed will. Here at The Weil Law Group, we can help you with your estate plan regardless of how simple or complicated it may be. We also give you a low fixed price upfront. If you have any questions or need any help call 954-603-7603. We are here to help.


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