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Life changes should prompt a will update

As many Florida retirees may confirm, estate planning is not a one-time chore or static exercise but instead, it is an ongoing process. This will hold true so long as the lives of the individuals behind the planning remain an ongoing process. Thus, even a will may require updates and amending in accordance with life's twists and turns. In fact, there are a number of life circumstances that should prompt an update in a will.

Getting married, remarried or entering into an unexpected serious relationship are but a few reasons to consider altering a will. Spouses are not automatically granted an entire estate. Significant others may receive nothing if they are not specifically included in a will. A remarriage could lead to children from an earlier marriage receiving less than originally intended if the will is not duly revised.

Divorce is another reason to review a will, and it is generally a good time to make any necessary changes to beneficiaries on insurance and other policies. The death of a spouse should also trigger a review of the will, though it may be best to wait until the grief subsides and sober thinking returns before making any major changes. Both death and divorce may result in a need to set up trusts for children.

When children are born, wills should be revised to provide for them as well as naming guardians in the event of the parents' death. Life changes that result from aging, retirement and moving to a new state also may require an updated will. An individual ready to engage in the process of estate planning may wish to consult an attorney if only to provide the peace of mind that the necessary steps and documents will be executed properly and without any vital errors committed on account of a layman's sheer ignorance of the law.

Source: Kiplinger , "Good Reasons to Change Your Will", December 19, 2014

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