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Essential times to revisit a will

Residents in California may understand the importance of a will, but many may for get to keep the documents updated. There are specific events in life that should trigger a review of their last will and testament to ensure it still reflects their final wishes. If it needs to be updated, making changes soon after a change can prevent confusion in the event of an unexpected death.

When people are added to a family, it is important to incorporate them into the will to avoid conflict when the will is read. Important events include a marriage or the birth or adoption of a child. Some people also change their will when grandchildren are born.

It may also be necessary to make appropriate changes when someone leaves the family. Divorce or the death of a spouse are life events that may necessitate changes to the estate plan. If changes are not made to certain documents after a divorce, the former spouse may be entitled to receive money or other assets.

As people get older, they accumulate assets that can be passed down to their heirs. Documenting the division of these assets can ensure that they are given to the intended recipient. A will might address which heir receives the family home and other personal assets like wedding rings or artwork. Careful estate planning may also reduce the taxes heirs will pay when they receive their inheritances.

An attorney who focuses on estate planning may help a client document their wishes in an initial will and then help them update it whenever necessary. A properly updated estate plan may eliminate family bickering and help surviving children accept their parent's choices after their death. In addition to a last will and testament, an attorney may also recommend other estate planning documents and tools to address end-of-life healthcare and estate taxes.

Source: Kiplinger , "Good Reasons to Change Your Will", December 21, 2014

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