A will is a necessary legal instrument for anyone who desires that certain property that constitutes their estate go to particular persons or organizations after their death. A will can also designate that the minor children of the testator, or person who is making the will, come under the care of a particular person should the testator die before the children reach adulthood. It can also contain trusts so that funds or other property automatically go to designated persons after the testator’s demise.
Anyone who drafts a will should keep in mind that it should be updated if the conditions or circumstances that existed at the time the will was created have changed. Changed conditions may include:
- You have divorced or remarried
- You want to leave all your property to your spouse
- Additional property such as real estate has been acquired
- Original beneficiaries have since deceased
- You wish to name a guardian for a child with special needs
- You now have children and need to name a guardian if you and your spouse meet an untimely end
- You no longer wish to leave property to someone who is either no longer alive or with whom you no longer have a relationship
- You have moved to a new state and that state’s laws may conflict with those of the state under which your will was created
- There is a change in the circumstances of your executor or guardian
- You started a business
- New children or grandchildren have been born
- You have not named anyone to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated
- Your assets have grown so that you need to protect them from federal estate taxes
It is always a good idea if these and other circumstances in your life do change to have your will reviewed by a trusts and estates attorney. Also, a living trust or another type of trust or testamentary instrument may benefit you and save your heirs thousands of dollars in taxes and enable them to enjoy the assets you created or acquired.