Situations that might prompt changes to a will

Writing a will can bring people in Florida peace of mind that their wishes will be known after they pass away. Creating a will is an important part of estate planning, but there are some life changes that make reevaluating and modifying one's plan a prudent course of action.

Changes in marital status could prompt changes in a person's will. Getting married, getting divorced, getting remarried or losing a spouse are all examples of important events that impact a will. Spouses do not automatically become the primary beneficiary when one marries. However, a divorce might revoke anything in a will pertaining to a spouse. If a spouse passes away, there could be tax benefits in giving some of what one inherits to kids or other beneficiaries, which is just one reason why it could be time to make changes.

Having a child is another opportunity to think about one's will. Naming a guardian in the unfortunate event that both parents die is a wise thing choice, but it might also make sense to establish a trust to manage assets intended for the children. As people age and acquire more assets, proper estate planning could save their beneficiaries a significant amount of money that might have gone to taxes. Retirement is another milestone that signals a need to reevaluate will, particularly if one has not designated who should have power of attorney. Moving to a new state should prompt a review to ensure a will is in accordance with the new state's laws.

Comprehensive estate planning can spare one's family the hassle of probate but failing to update a will could cause problems of its own. An attorney could assist clients with their first will and setting up other estate planning tools, such as trusts. An attorney could also review a client's will whenever there has been a major life change and recommend necessary adjustments.

Source: Kiplinger , "Good Reasons to Change Your Will", December 22, 2014

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