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Business & Commercial Law : Estate Planning & Litigation : Bankruptcy

Update your estate plan to avoid will contests

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Will Contests

Estate planning documents, such as wills and trusts, can ensure that assets go to the right people or organizations upon a person’s death. Power of attorney documents can ensure that an individual’s medical wishes and financial resources are protected. 

Nonetheless, estate planning is not a one-time event — and forgetting to update your estate plan in response to your changing circumstances can sometimes lead to unnecessary and expensive estate disputes. Life does not remain static and an estate plan needs to reflect changes as an individual gets older.

While there is no single answer as to how often an estate plan should be updated, there are some general recommendations. It is widely considered to be good practice to update an estate plan every three to five years. However, the following situations may call for more urgent updates:

Familial changes 

Any significant changes in family circumstances should be included in an estate plan. For example, if the testator has a child then they may want to include them in the will both for asset reasons and to nominate a child guardian. 

An estate plan should also be updated if the testator either divorces or gets married. The only way to ensure that assets go to the right people and that individuals are given the appropriate responsibilities is to have an estate plan that matches current times. 

Significant changes in your location or assets

The average person in the U.S. relocates at least 11 times in their lifetime. For many, they relocate much more often than this. This could involve buying properties as well as selling them, which means a significant change in assets. All changes in assets should be reflected in an estate plan, and this includes real estate, businesses, valuables, bank accounts, retirement accounts, digital currencies and heirlooms. In addition, if you move from one state to another, you will likely need to revise your estate plan to fit with your new state’s rules.

Whether you are drafting an estate plan for the first time or are making changes, it can be beneficial to have legal guidance behind you.