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Knowing when it's time to update your estate plan

If you have already taken the time to create an estate plan, you have done the right thing. You are protecting your family, your loved ones and yourself in the event of an accident or sudden illness. Far too many people put off estate planning until their mortality is unavoidable.

By creating an estate plan before your life nears its end, you have done the responsible thing. However, it is likely that throughout your adult life, you will need to update, change and modify your estate plan and last will.

An attorney can help you change, update and otherwise maintain an accurate last will and estate plan. Life changes so quickly, and your last will should be updated with each major change to your life.

Just like estate planning in general, updates and changes to your last will should never be put off to a later date. You should arrange to update your last will and estate plan with your attorney as soon as you know about major changes in your life. Failing to do so could result in an inaccurate last will, or having people like former spouses included as heirs in your will when you didn't want them to be anymore.

Certain life changes demand last will changes, too

Are you getting married? Are you or your spouse expecting a child? Are you in the process of adopting? Are you getting divorced or becoming a grandparent? Maybe you sold a home or acquired new investment properties.

If your family is changing or your assets increase or substantially decrease, you should arrange to speak with your attorney regarding your last will and estate plan. Sometimes, medical situations can also play into the need to make changes. Are you facing a serious medical issue and wish to change your guidelines on organ donation and resuscitation?

If your marital status changes or if there are new family members, you should speak with your attorney to update your last will and estate plan. If your assets change substantially, your attorney should know and your last will should reflect that as well. If your attitude about certain medical directives has changed, it is critical that your estate plan and last will are also updated to reflect those wishes.

An attorney can help keep your estate plan up-to-date

Don't risk having a last will or estate plan that doesn't reflect your current family, assets and intentions for how your assets should be divided. Estate plans are important to anyone with children or dependent parents. They are also important to those with special needs children. The accuracy of your last will and estate plan will dictate the future of people who depend on you. Update your last will and estate plan regularly to ensure it is as accurate and useful to your heirs as possible.

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