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When should wills be altered to reflect life changes?

Ohio residents are undoubtedly aware of the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan. Part of that is crafting a will. However, not all situations stay the same from the time the will is drafted. When there are changes to a person's life circumstances, it is a wise decision to change the details of the will. Changing wills might sound like it is complicated, but it is not. Updating a will is sometimes just as important as crafting it in the first place. Knowing when this should be done is an important aspect of the estate plan.

Since the will is designed to list who will receive various properties and assets from the testator at the time of death, people might be added or removed from the document as time passes. If the person gets married, a new document should be created to address this and take care of the spouse. A common law marriage is recognized in Ohio if it came about before October 10, 1991. People who are in a common law relationship might need to adjust their will to reflect that.

Some relationships go sour after the will has been completed and there is a divorce. For many, the former spouse will no longer be someone who the testator feels belongs in the will. In such a case, the will must be changed. When a person has completed a will, they might not have accounted for having a child or a grandchild. If this happens, then changing the document to add the new family members is wise. Having the good fortune to suddenly accrue greater assets and perhaps having wealth will mean that the will is obsolete. New property, an increased bank account and other factors are vital to the updating of the will.

To change the will, it is often preferable just to write a new one. The old will must be revoked to put the new one into effect. A statement will need to be written saying the old will is revoked. Destroying the old will is also a smart strategy. For people who are concerned about estate planning and wills and what must be done to legally change the document, there are numerous issues to address. Having legal assistance from a caring attorney who understands all aspects of crafting and altering a will is the first step toward a well-crafted document.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Changing a Will," accessed on Nov. 15, 2017

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