Updating your estate planning documents is important because it ensures that your wishes are carried out and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Major life events have a huge impact on your estate plans. While estate planning may not be top of mind in the following situations, you should review your estate planning documents at least every five (5) years and upon any life event such as:
- You Get Married. Most states have a spousal election statute for a spouse that was left out of a will. However, the spouse will have to challenge the will in probate court and could be costly.
- You Get Divorced. Most states have a statutory prohibition of an ex-spouse receiving under a will which will revert the disposition of property according to the state’s rules.
- The Birth or Adoption of a Child or Grandchild. Like the spousal election, a child has a statutory right to challenge a will and receive an elective share. Again, it is a costly process. Good estate planning documents will ensure later children or adoptions will be included but this is a highly overlooked clause in some will. If leaving a child out of your will was done purposefully, your will requires very specific language to withstand a child election.
- Buy or sell property subject to your estate plan. So many people have estate plans created and then sell or otherwise dispose of property. In this case, your property will be disposed of according to state law rather than your intended disposition. There may be a possibility that the intended heir may have an option to challenge the statutory disposition if there is similar or replacement property at the time of your passing. However, it is a costly process for your heir in probate court.
- Someone Relevant to your Estate Plans Becomes Seriously Ill or Disabled or Dies. Not everyone you intend to give property to will survive you. Again, if this happened, said gift will pass according to state law.
The most common things that happen when there is an old or outdated estate planning document are conflict among your heirs and costly probate proceedings which your documents were supposed to prevent.
Want to update your estate planning documents from the comfort of your home, schedule your online consultation at your convenience. Schedule Online Now – MARY A COSMO, ESQ. (attorneycosmo.com)