Page 23 - BusinessWest 2022 Senior Planning Guide
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When Life Changes
When Should You Review and Update Your Will?
IBy Mary Paier Powers, Esq.
f you have done a will, you have taken the first steps to plan who inherits the assets you have worked so hard to accumulate. The next very important ques- tion is: when should you update your will? There are a number of situations or events you need to take into consideration.
As a general rule, you should review your will
every five to seven years as a matter of routine. As time passes, you may change your mind on your beneficiaries and what they will inherit. The individuals you have named in the will may no longer be healthy enough to inherit from your estate. Or the person
you listed as your personal representative (formally the executor) may no longer be a part of your life
or trustworthy or healthy enough to take on the
task of gathering your assets, paying your bills, and distributing your estate as you direct in your will.
It’s not necessary to change your will every time your child or beneficiary moves or if your child changes his or her name. However, in the following situations, it is a good idea to review and update your will:
• When there is a major life change in your life or that of your beneficiaries, such as the addition of children or grandchildren into the family, or getting married or getting divorced, it would be smart to review your will.
• If you did not have children when you did your will, you will want to update your will so you can indicate
who the guardian and conservator will be. They are the person or persons who would raise your child if you were not living.
• You may also want to set up a trust for those beneficiaries. This will allow you the opportunity to ensure that the child or grandchild does not receive their inheritance at the age of 18. You would also get to pick a trustee, someone to manage the funds until the child reaches the age you select in your will.
• If you have a child, or your child or beneficiary has children, and that child has special needs, you will want to update your will to address the special needs of that beneficiary and ensure the bequest you leave in your will does not affect their current or potential benefits. • If your child or beneficiary changes his or her sexual orientation, you’ll want to be sure your beneficiary is referenced correctly and by their correct name.
• If your spouse or beneficiary has passed away, you may want to rework your estate plan.
• If the person or persons you have named as your personal representative have passed, or moved away and you are no longer close, you will want to update your will to name a new person to be in charge of your estate.
• You may have inherited money or been more successful in amassing assets, and your will should be adjusted to include tax planning and or trusts.
This list is not meant to be the only times you consider changing your will. It is a list to get you thinking about whether your current will is still current. If you have concerns or questions, please feel free to contact me or an attorney of your own choosing to review your will, assets, and plans for the future. n
Attorney Mary Paier Powers has been practicing law since 1984, practicing primarily in the areas of estate settlement, estate planning, and elder law. She opened Powers Law Group in 1993.
  “As a general
rule, you
should review
your will
every five to
seven years
as a matter of
routine. As time passes, you may change your mind on your beneficiaries and what they will inherit.”
At Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, our experienced estate planning and elder law attorneys are recognized leaders in their fields. Compassionate and ready to listen, our team is well equipped to help you secure your future and meet your personal elder care and financial goals. Contact our team today to schedule your consultation.
 Protect Your Family
Creating a will is a key component of estate planning. You can count on the experts at PLG to help ensure your wishes are carried out and executed smoothly.
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