Life is constantly changing, so your Last Will and Testament should be periodically reviewed and updated in order to keep up with these changes. Here is some advice from estate planning attorney Frank R. Campisano in New Jersey.
When should I change my Will?
- A change in circumstances: If you inherit a large sum of money or substantially increase your earnings, your strategy for your estate plan is likely to change. You may want to change how much beneficiaries would inherit, how they would inherit or even add new beneficiaries. A Trust may now also make more sense for you and your beneficiaries financially in terms of taxes. Similarly, a reduction in financial circumstances may also impact your estate plan.
- Marriage: Spouses are entitled to a certain portion of your estate by the State unless it is otherwise stated in your Will. You may want to increase or decrease this amount, as well as include particular assets that you would like your spouse to inherit.
- Divorce: A legal divorce doesn’t necessarily impact on your Will, so your former spouse could still inherit your assets even after legal separation and remarriage. At the very least, issues like this can cause extensive court battles and confusion along with spiraling legal costs and emotional distress. It’s best that, in the event of a divorce, you immediately change your Will to reflect your wishes.
- A new baby: Whether you are adopting a child or having your own biological child, you need to update your Will in order to provide certain legal protections. This includes naming a guardian and ensuring that they inherit the right assets in the event of you or both you and your spouse passing away.
- A blended family: If you marry and your spouse had children from a previous marriage, you may want to update your Will. Without changes to your Will, your step-children cannot inherit from you, so it’s important to specifically include this update especially if you already have children of your own.
Update your Will – or write a new one?
Often, it is far simpler to revoke all old Wills and write an entirely new legal document. Your original Will is likely to change many times over your lifetime, so additions and changes can easily create legal confusion to the point where your actual intentions can be lost. A new document will be able to state your intentions clearly and stand up to contestation and scrutiny by the courts and other legal entities.
Expert assistance in creating your Last Will and Testament
If you would like to revise your Will or create a new Will, Frank R. Campisano can assist you each step of the way. Whether you want to create a simple will or are interested in creating more complex estate planning documents such as trusts, medical directives and Power of Attorney documents, he can ensure that the right legal documentation is developed in order to meet your specific wishes.