Houston Estate Planning and Probate Blog

Friday, September 1, 2017

6 Events Which Can Trigger Will Revisions

6 Events Which May Require a Change in Your Estate Plan

Executing a Will may or may not be a one-time event. You should review your Will periodically to ensure it fulfills your wishes upon your death and make necessary changes if your personal situation, or that of your executor or beneficiaries, has changed. There are a number of life-changing events that may make you consider revising your Will, including:

Change in Marital Status: If you have gotten married or divorced, it is important that you review and possibly modify your Will. With a new marriage, you may want to add your spouse or possibly stepchildren as beneficiaries. Following a divorce it is a good idea to revise your Will if your former spouse was a beneficiary. You may also want to change your beneficiary on any life insurance policies, pensions, or retirement accounts.

Estate planning is complicated when there are children from multiple marriages and an attorney can help you ensure your wishes are fulfilled as it involves your children and possible stepchildren, which may include establishing trusts within your Will or in addition to the revised Will. If one of your Will’s beneficiaries experiences a change in marital status, that may also trigger a need to revise your Will.

Births: Upon the birth of a new child, the parents may want to change their planning regarding the new child. Also, parents or grandparents may wish to modify the distribution of assets provided in their Wills, to include the new addition to the family.

Deaths or Incapacity: If any of the named executors or beneficiaries of a Will pass away or become incapacitated, your Will may need to be revised accordingly.

Change in Assets: Your Will may need to be changed if the value of your assets has significantly increased or decreased, or if you dispose of an asset and you want to modify the distribution of other assets in your estate, to account for the changed value or disposition of the asset.

Change in Employment: A change in the amount and/or source of income means your Will may need to be examined to see if any changes need to be made to that document. Retirement or changing jobs could entail moving to another state, thus subjecting your estate to the laws of that state when you die. If the change in income modifies your investing, saving or spending habits, it may be time to review your Will and make sure the distribution to your beneficiaries will be as you intended.

Changes in Probate or Tax Laws: Wills should be drafted to maximize tax benefits, and to ensure the decedent’s wishes are carried out. If the laws regarding taxation of the estate, distribution of assets, or provisions for minor children have changed, you should have your Will reviewed by an estate planning attorney to ensure your family is fully protected and your wishes will be fully carried out.

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