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Updating a Will: How to Ensure Your Intentions are Met

Sep 08 2017

Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Many people decide to get their estate planning documents in order when they are going through major life changes. Some major moments that may trigger the idea to update an estate plan include, but are not limited to: getting married, starting a family, purchasing property, or getting divorced. However, going through some of these major life changes are not the only justifiable reasons for updating an estate plan.

It is common for people to believe they will never have to amend or change their estate planning documents. But the world is constantly changing. And as the world changes, so do the laws. Laws are being enacted all the time that can impact the ‘freshness date’ of estate planning documents.  Thus, it is essential to make sure the estate planning documents that currently govern your real and personal property are up-to-date.  

How can people accurately check the ‘freshness date’ on their Will? This is a question only an experienced estate planning attorney can answer. Essentially, it is a lawyer’s job to keep up to date with the new laws enacted in their jurisdiction, especially the laws that govern their areas of practice. Any experienced estate planning attorney will likely tell you that if a few years have passed, you will need to revisit and update your estate planning documents. Lawyers provide this advice not only to keep up with current law, but to ensure that your estate planning documents are in accordance with your intentions at that present moment. Ten years ago you may have made a dear friend beneficiary of your estate. Ten years ago, maybe the idea of being an organ donor was too overwhelming. Yet, a lot can happen in one year, let alone ten years. Maybe you have lost touch with that dear friend, and maybe now the idea of becoming an organ donor is satisfying. The lesson to be learned is that it is important to have your estate planning documents match your current intentions, instead of allowing the documents to memorialize your life as it was years ago.

There are innumerable reasons to update, revise, or even redraft your estate planning documents—especially when the cost of not doing so could mean your intentions are not fulfilled after you pass. Consult a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney, today, to ensure your estate planning documents are fresh and up-to-date.

Manahawkin and Stafford Township Attorney | Will | Estate Planning