As an estate planning attorney, I review lots of existing Wills and Trusts. Many of these documents were done years ago – and many of them still reflect the wishes of the client.
However, there are times when I get a call that goes something like this: “I think I need my Will/Trust changed. I just looked at it and it is not what I want anymore. I am going to [fill in exotic location] and I need it changed before I get on the plane.”
Documents done years before may have been perfect for the circumstances at that time. But, circumstances change: personal relationships evolve; assets may increase, so tax planning may be an issue not addressed in the prior documents; charitable bequests may be more important; or special needs planning for an heir may now be a necessary part of the plan.
Here are a few suggestions on when it may be time to have you documents changed – or at least reviewed:
- You did not have children when your documents were prepared.
- The executor or trustee you named is now over 70 years old.
- A beneficiary named in your documents has – or may have – a disability.
- A beneficiary named in your documents is in a nursing home.
- You want to give specific personal property to specific people.
Many attorneys will be more than happy to review your documents to see if changes are really necessary. It may be that you existing documents are perfectly fine, but if not, better to start the updating process now than wait until the day before your scheduled flight.