You drafted a will and a durable power of attorney 10 years ago. You have since become a grandparent, divorced and remarried, and purchased a new vacation home. Do you need to update your will, or will the original version suffice? How do you know what events trigger an update, and what new provisions should be added to estate planning documents?
Events that Trigger an Update to Estate Planning Documents
If you added a new member to your family recently such as a grandchild or great-grandchild, you may want to add them to your will as a beneficiary. If you just ended a marriage or are entering a new one, you will want to update your will as well. If you are just contemplating estate planning, give some thought to what you would want to happen to your home, your personal property, intellectual property, and other assets. Do you want your children to inherit everything? Maybe you want to leave something to a close friend, or you are remarried but want to ensure your children receive a portion of your estate instead of everything transferring to your spouse at your passing. Did you acquire additional real estate, buy a vacation home or investment property? Maybe you purchased a classic car, motorcycle, or RV. Any time you make a large purchase or acquire real property or personal property worth sentimental or fiscal value, you should strongly consider amending your will by way of a codicil (the legal term for a will amendment).
In addition, if you recently lost a loved one, spouse, or beneficiary previously designated to inherit a portion of your estate, you will need to revise your will. You may also need to designate a new estate executor, personal representative or healthcare proxy. Finally, if you started a new small business, you should consider drafting documents to wind up or transfer business assets after your passing. Usually, these documents would be drafted during business formation, but you can also provide instructions in a legal will regarding businesses you own or in which you have an ownership stake.
Revising a Will or Codicil
To revise an existing will, call our attorneys at Darpel Elder Law. Even if you cannot find your original will, we can assist you in drafting a new one and providing means to secure the new version. We can also discuss revisions and modifications you need to make as well as long term planning concerns. You have the option of keeping your will on file with our office, registering your will with the county of your residence, or securing a will in your home. Keep in mind that after your passing, if multiple versions of the same will or codicil exist, it could present a serious issue in probate and for interested parties. You must destroy all copies of an outdated version of your will or estate planning documents. If you have a complicated investment portfolio, own multiple properties and assets, or wish to make substantial contributions to charitable organizations, you may be better served by creating a trust as well. A trust may also be appropriate in developing a long-term care planning strategy.
Our attorneys would be glad to discuss trusts available for your specific needs.
Call Darpel Elder Law Today
If you are considering revisions to your will or estate planning documents and have questions, call our paralegals and attorneys at Darpel Elder Law. Our lawyers possess decades of combined experience working with clients on a variety of estate matters, including drafting, revisions and updates to long term care planning strategy and wills. We are dedicated to assisting our clients with all legal needs and serve clients throughout Northern Kentucky. Call to schedule a consultation today.