Most people will agree that a Will and Estate Plan is one of the most important legal documents an individual can create, yet so many forget to keep them updated. Once you have created your will it is important to revisit it regularly to make sure it still best represents your final wishes and accounts for any recent changes.
There are several changes with can significantly influence your Will and circumstances which can revoke or invalidate the document. Here are a few reasons why you should revisit your will or estate plan, generally with the advice of a professional lawyer or legal expert at hand.
Updates in the LawIt is a good idea to be aware of changes to the law when it comes to Wills and Estate planning. While a good lawyer can help you protect your Will from any potential future changes, it is also wise to take note of any new legislation or potential laws that could affect how your wishes are carried out.
Death of a BeneficiaryIt is a sadevent that unfortunately happens frequently enough to influence a lot of wills. When a beneficiary passes away, if you fail to change your estate is allocated it can leave the will open to misinterpretation. A common beneficiary death is that of a partner, and it can leave a significant hole in a Will. Some intended recipients could not receive the right portioned amounts and it can even prevent some from receiving anything at all.
Births and AdoptionsFew things are as significant as acquiring afamily, whether through birth or adoption, so it makes sense that you should update your will to ensure these new additions are included in your Will. It is also crucial that you name a guardian and specific instructions regarding the care of any dependents on your death.
Marriages and DivorcesMarriage or a new partner is also another event that can cause any previous will to be rendered invalid. Spouses and Significant Others are often recognised as having rights over your estate, particularly when given an outdated will. If you still wish to specify how your estate is apportioned between recipients it is important to revisit your will. Divorce is another time when you should look at your will and take into consideration any changes to your choices of beneficiaries, the guardianship of dependants and trustees for minors.
TAXMany people are unaware that death can lead to significant tax consequences, but often there is also the opportunity to create tax benefits for generations to come through the creation of testamentary trusts in your will. A testamentary trust can be useful when there is significant passive income coming to you prior to your death.
The Bottom LineUltimately it is good to revisit your Will or Estate plan every couple of years and plan to change it after any major events. A clear and up-to-date will can alleviate a lot of the stress for beneficiaries and prevent many potential problems like property disputes. A lawyer can also instruct you in any legal problems or concerns that might have arisen in the time period you last visited your Will.
If you are looking at changing, updating, or even creating your first Will come talk to us at P&B Law today. We are experts in property and commercial law and can advise you regarding any property or commercial assets.