estate planning

When Should You Update Your Will & Estate Plans?

Estate planning is not a one-and-done affair. It is an ongoing process that should be revisited periodically to reflect the changes in your life, laws, and personal circumstances. In this article, we will discuss events that should trigger you to review and consider modifying your estate plan.

When Should I Change My Will in Utah?

Having an updated will and estate plan ensures that your assets are distributed according to your desires upon your demise. It also helps to minimize potential disputes among beneficiaries and can prevent a lengthy probate process.

You should review your will and estate plan every few years. If you experience a major life event, you should also revise your estate plan.

Here are some critical life events that necessitate a review and possible update of your estate plan:

  • Marriage. After tying the knot, you may want to include your spouse in your will and estate plan. You might also need to consider what happens to your assets in the event of a divorce.
  • Divorce. Post-divorce, you'd likely want to remove your ex-spouse from your will and estate plan.
  • Birth or death of family members. The addition of a new family member or the loss of a loved one can change how you'd like your assets distributed.
  • Moving to another state. Laws governing wills and estates vary from state to state. If you move, you'll want to ensure your documents comply with the laws of your new residence.
  • Changes in assets/financial status. Acquiring new assets or experiencing a change in your financial situation should prompt a review of your estate plan to include or exclude these assets.
  • Changes in relationships. Changes in your relationship with a beneficiary or executor might necessitate an update to your will.

The Consequences of Neglecting Your Estate Plan

Failing to review and update your estate plan can have significant implications. For instance, if you don't revise your will after a major life event, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child, certain individuals may be unintentionally excluded or included in your estate distribution.

It is also important to note that laws are always changing and evolving. By failing to review your estate plan with an attorney, you can fail to consider how changes in the laws may affect your estate plan, assets, and/or beneficiaries.

How to Review & Update Your Will & Estate Plan

Reviewing and updating your will and estate plan is not a task to be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration and potentially complex legal maneuvering. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Review your current documents. Start by understanding what your current estate plan entails. Check the designated beneficiaries, trustees, and executors.
  • Identify needed changes. Highlight any changes in your personal circumstances or the law that may necessitate a revision of your estate plan.
  • Consult with your attorney. You should consider reviewing your estate plan and will with a qualified attorney. They can help you consider potential changes and the impact they can have. They can also advise you on the best way to change your will (and other estate planning documents). When it comes to updating a will in Utah, you can either draft an entirely new will or amend the current will with a codicil. If you opt to draft a new will, you will need to make sure the previous version is revoked to avoid future challenges to the new document’s validity.

What to Do After Modifying Your Will or Estate Planning

After updating your will, you should consider taking the following steps:

  • Keep the original documents and copies safe. Store the original document in a secure, fireproof location like a safe deposit box at a bank or a home safe.
  • Ensure key individuals know the storage location. Inform key individuals, such as your executor, spouse, or adult children, about the location of your will and how to access it. If your will is in a safe deposit box, make sure they have the necessary permissions to access it upon your death.
  • Create marked copies. Make copies of your updated will or estate plan and mark them as "copies." This practice will help avoid any confusion between the original and the copies.

Learn More About Modifying Utah Estate Plans

At Nelson, Taylor & Associates, we understand the importance of securing your assets and providing for your loved ones after your passing, which is why we offer comprehensive legal services that encompass drafting and modifying estate plans. Our firm has a proven track record of reliability and trustworthiness, having successfully assisted numerous clients in crafting effective and all-encompassing estate plans.

Schedule an initial consultation today by calling (801) 901-7046.