If you have a will in place, then you have already taken one of the most important steps to begin your estate planning. But a will that you create when you are younger may not cover all the issues that could arise in later years as the people and property in your life change. Updating your will is a relatively easy process, and is one of the best actions you can take to make sure that your loved ones are benefitted after your passing, without unnecessary delay and legal bills eating away at your estate. Here are five times you should strongly consider updating a will in your life, according to a Florida wills attorney.
GETTING MARRIED OR GETTING DIVORCED
A marriage is, among other things, a pledge to financially take care of one another throughout your lives. It is important to ensure that your will accurately reflects your current marital status, in order to continue providing for a spouse after your passing, or to update the will to reflect the fact you are no longer married.
Many states have probate laws that will affect the way your estate is distributed to a spouse, and even an ex-spouse, and so you should work with an estate planning attorney to ensure that your will is in accord with state law and will achieve your current intentions in benefitting a spouse or ex-spouse.
THE BIRTH OR ADOPTION OF A CHILD
Likewise, the birth or adoption of a child generally means there is a new person in your life that you will most likely want to benefit in your will. As with a spouse, many states also have laws that will affect how your estate is distributed should you fail to name a child that was born or adopted after the time you create a will.
By failing to update your will to reflect a newly born or adopted child, you might be leaving your family with unnecessarily complicated legal procedures, bills, and delay in trying to work with the state law and courts on this matter.
WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE WITH A NAMED BENEFICIARY
Outside of a spouse, you are generally free to decide who should receive your property once you pass. As everyone knows, relationships change over time, and the persons you wanted to benefit at age 35 may not be the ones you want to benefit at age 65. Perhaps a named beneficiary has become estranged from you, or has exhibited behaviors that you do not want to encourage with a large gift from your estate. Or there may simply be new people and organizations in your life that you want to benefit that were not named in your original will.
Speak to an estate planning attorney about potential ways to pass on wealth with restrictions for the recipient, such as leaving an educational trust for a family member.
THE ATTAINMENT OF NEW PROPERTY NOT MENTIONED IN THE WILL
If you obtain new property not mentioned in a will, and there is no language in the will covering this later-acquired property, a court may consider the property to be that which should pass through intestacy, which is a process by which a court distributes your property pursuant to state law.
This can also lead to delay and extra costs, and may not ultimately benefit the parties you wish to benefit with your newly-acquired property, thus updating your will to reflect it can avoid these issues.
THE LOSS OF PROPERTY LISTED IN THE WILL
Similarly, property that you had listed in the will but which no longer exists can create problems for intended beneficiaries. If you sold a car or home that you had listed, or even converted savings into different holdings, a court might find that the named beneficiary for that property gets nothing, or it may have to engage in complicated maneuverings to nevertheless benefit that person, which could include dividing up other property in your estate and inconveniencing beneficiaries. By updating your will, however, to reflect the fact the property is no longer there, you can avoid these issues.
CONTACT RYAN MYNARD TODAY ABOUT CREATING YOUR FLORIDA WILL OR CODICIL
To being the process of creating or updating a Florida will or codicil - or to speak about any estate planning questions or concerns you have - contact Florida estate planning attorney Ryan Mynard at 850-683-3940 today to get started.