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Reasons to modify a will and estate plan

Many New York residents who have written will or created other estate planning vehicles will likely have to revisit these documents after the occurrence of certain life milestones. As family members are added or subtracted and the contents of a person's financial portfolio grow, these changes must be accounted for in an updated estate plan.

One of the key life changes that will trigger an update of an estate plan is when a person gets married. Because spouses do not automatically inherit a majority of their deceased spouse's estate, a will must be modified if spouses would like to name each other the sole heir to an estate. If a marriage ends in divorce, this life change would also make updating an estate plan extremely important. In addition to modifying a will, a divorced person might have to revoke a power of attorney and make changes to financial documents and property titles.

Becoming a parent is another life milestone that requires important updates be made to an existing will and estate plan. While parents might want to name their children as beneficiaries of their financial assets and physical property, parents will also have to decide who should be named as a guardian for their children in the event that they pass away.

A person who would like to make changes to a will and estate plan might want to speak with an estate planning attorney. Ensuring that wishes are properly expressed in an estate plan by periodically reviewing and updating documents as necessary is good practice and recommended upon the occurrence of a life milestone or a change in financial circumstances.

Source: Kiplinger , "Good Reasons to Change Your Will", December 30, 2014

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