A will is an extremely important document that dictates your plans in regards to your medical healthcare and your financial care in terms of your assets once you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself. If you have already created your will, congratulations on completing the first and most important step in your procedure for planning for the future. Once you have completed your will, it is important to go back and make changes or edits in correlation with the changes you have experienced over the years since you first wrote your will. Your financial circumstances may change, as may your health, so it is necessary that you go back to the original document and make edits where necessary. Life is unpredictable, as anything can happen, so it is your duty to check that your will is up to date with your current plans for the future. An esteemed Estate Planning Attorney can assist you in not only drafting your original will document, but making reasonable changes based on your current situation.
Some Reasons Attorneys Encourage Clients to Make Changes to their Wills-
- Financial Assets Change - Overtime, you are bound to have a change in your bank account, especially if you purchase a new home, a new car, or a new business. Your estate is likely to increase or decrease in value over the years since you created your original will because the economy changes and taxes will change in response. In the case that you have sold valuable assets, that would also have an impact on your financial status. It is always a good idea to make changes to your will if your financial circumstances change in any way, or else your will will not reflect your current financial situation and may be ineffective in accomplishing that which you expected it to do.
- Personal Relationships Change - Families are constantly growing, as your daughter may give birth to your new granddaughter, finally making you a grandpa. The dynamics of your family will change overtime, for it is a normal process that is bound to take place. Certain relatives will pass away, while new children will be born or adopted. People you may have been close to several years ago, you may not speak to anymore. You may have built a closer relationship with certain individuals in the time since you created your first will. You may get a divorce from your partner or one of your beneficiaries has unfortunately passed away. There is no way to predict what the future holds. All we can do is take actions based on the present, so make the decision today to edit your original will based on your new family dynamics.
- Relocation: You Move to a New State - In the case that you would prefer to move to a new state upon retirement or would just like to change your environment, you should consider visiting an attorney to guarantee that your will is still valid in a different state. Let’s say you are tired of shoveling the snow every winter in New York and it has been your dream to move to a house on the warm, sunny beaches of Miami. If this is the case, you should ask your attorney if your NY will be utilized in Florida. If it cannot be used because the will does not align with your new state’s laws, then your attorney can provide you with guidance on the next best steps for your given circumstance.
- Tax Laws Change - This is a concept many individuals do not often consider because they are unaware of the impact tax laws may have on their beneficiaries. Your new will should reflect changes that effectively align with the new tax laws to ensure that your beneficiaries will be getting all that they deserve. You may want to consider tax planning to help you better understand your options based on your personal financial assets and wealth.
What are Key Terms I should Look for when Reviewing my Will?
When reviewing your will with the assistance of an Estate Planning Attorney, together you should look out for the following information:
- Did you include all of the individuals you had initially planned in the document? If you realize that you forgot to add a loved one, now is the time to make edits. You are encouraged to make changes the moment you recognize an issue because you may forget later on that there ever was an issue with your original will.
- What are your feelings regarding the way your assets are divided? If you are uncomfortable in terms of who is getting how much money that is something to think about and discuss with your attorney, so you together you can decide a more effective distribution plan. You should feel confident and comfortable with your decision to divide your assets in any way you please that best reflects your personal interests.
- Are all of the individuals listed on your will still present in your life? If the people you selected to include in your will have passed away or have lost contact with you, then you are encouraged to make changes to your will that best reflect your present dynamics. If you would like to replace those individuals with other people you have in mind that is perfectly acceptable and if you would like to just remove those individuals from your will that is fine too.
Once you have made your changes appropriately, you may now be at ease knowing that your will is up to date. Even if you did not have to change anything in your will, it was extremely important that you went through everything to guarantee that you are well prepared for the future. Note that an attorney is always there for you if you have any inquiries or need any assistance.
When is the Right Time to Review my Will?
- In the case that a new family member is added to your family dynamic, such as the birth of a granddaughter, niece, nephew, or adoption of a child.
- When an individual you named in your will has passed away.
- When the value of your estate has any drastic increases or decreases from its value when you drafted your original will.
- When relocating to inhabit a new state.
- When you have just gotten married or divorced.
- When there is a change in tax laws.
- When you began a new business.
For further Estate Planning information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to best prepare for your future through will drafting, power of attorney, health care proxy, and living will documentation.