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Dorothea J. Kingsbury Estate Planning & Probate Attorney

Is it time to update your estate plan?

Congratulations on creating your estate plan. By taking this step, you have created a way for your surviving family to know your end-of-life wishes regarding care, property distribution and a variety of other topics relating to your life. Of course, you may want to remember that only finishing your first draft of your plan does not mean you have completely done away with the need to plan.

Keeping your plan up to date can help avoid potential conflict after your demise. Without proper updates, certain information may no longer apply to the circumstances of your life and death, and as a result, surviving family may have a difficult time sorting through what your intentions were and how the change in circumstances affect those plans.

When to update

Numerous life changes could result in a need to update your estate plan. Even the mere passage of time may give you reason enough, as you may realize that desires you once had may have changed over time. However, you may wish to consider updating should any of the following events take place:

  • Divorce
  • Marriage
  • Death of a beneficiary
  • Birth of a child or grandchild
  • Changes to state law
  • Children reaching adulthood
  • Change in estate value
  • Obtaining or losing of certain assets
  • Changes in executor, trustee or guardian appointments

If any of these events or other personal scenarios takes place and you do not update your plans, a loved one could lose out on inheritances, or an ex-spouse could still inherit your property. Making sure that the details disclosed in your will and other estate planning documents reveal your real wishes and intentions may save your family from potential stress and heartache.

How to update

Because you undoubtedly want to avoid the difficulties that could arise from creating a plan only to never look at it again, you may want to have easy access to your estate plan to review periodically. If you do find that you have reason to make changes to your will or other documents, you may do so in a similar manner to how you created your initial plan. However, you will want to ensure that your changes are legally binding; otherwise, issues could still arise.

If you feel uncertain about whether your estate plan needs updates or how to go about making changes, you may wish to gain more information from reliable legal resources.

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I am attorney Dorothea J. Kingsbury. I provide good advice and real solutions to challenging problems. I can help you choose and personalize estate planning instruments that meet your family's present and future needs. I can develop elder law strategies that ensure proper care for your loved ones. I can guide you through the probate/estate administration process when a family member has passed away. I can help make sure your interests are protected during your real estate transaction. I am here to make things easier.

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