Is it Time to Review and Update your Will?
Is it Time to Review and Update your Will?
October 15, 2012

October 15-22, 2012, is National Estate Planning Awareness Week and an ideal time to review your Last Will and Testament along with your Revocable Living Trust, if you have a trust. Out-of-date estate planning documents can create confusion and conflict among your family and heirs.

Not sure if your estate planning documents are out-of-date? While there is no mandate to update wills and trusts every so many years, there are at least a dozen life events that could prompt changing your will or trust. Additionally, the laws do change and you may not be benefitting from changes or many be harmed by them if your documents are not up to date.

In addition to a rule of thumb to have your documents reviewed and updated at least every 10 years, some of the events that should trigger an update are:

  1. Marriage
  2. Divorce
  3. Death of a spouse or life partner
  4. Birth or adoption of a child/grandchild
  5. Change in needs of children or other beneficiaries
  6. Youngest child reaches adulthood
  7. Significant change in value of assets
  8. Significant overhaul of tax legislation (yes, such as expiration of Bush tax cuts)
  9. Acquisition or distribution of significant assets, including real estate
  10. Death, disability or incapacity of a beneficiary named in your will
  11. Agent you selected (Personal Representative/Trustee/Guardian) is no longer able to serve due to death, disability, or a move
  12. Desire to change or add to named beneficiaries
  13. Relocation to another state

In some cases, updating can be as simple as executing an amendment to your documents (called a “Codicil” to a Will or an “Amended and Restated Trust” in the case of a Revocable Living Trust). Other times, you may need a new set of documents. In Florida, for example, the Durable Power of Attorney laws underwent a complete overhaul, effective October 2011, making it advisable to start fresh rather than amend an existing DPOA designation.
If you are wondering whether your estate planning documents need to be updated, contact Hunter Law Tampa Bay to make an appointment to discuss your specific circumstances with attorney Sheryl Hunter. Call 813-334-3175 or email hunter@hunterlawtampabay.com

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