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Are you keeping your estate plan updated?

All too often, people forget that they need to update their last will and estate plan with some regularity. Every time your personal situation changes, whether you divorce or you have another child, you need to consider updating and revising your estate plan and last will and testament.

Estate planning can feel morbid to some people, but in reality it's just part of being a responsible adult. Failing to assign proper heirs and executors could result in your entire estate going to the United States government instead of those that you had hoped might benefit from it. Proper estate planning prevents that kind of tragedy.

An estate plan and will are critical to providing for loved ones

To ensure that your assets get distributed as you desire and your loved ones are properly provided for, you should create an estate plan, including a last will, as soon as possible. The help of an experienced estate attorney can ensure that your will can withstand legal challenges. It can also help ensure that everything required for dispersal of your possessions is adequately provided for within your last will.

An attorney's help can protect you against mistakes that could render your last will invalid. After all, you don't want your heirs to spend weeks or months going through probate court.

The older the will, the easier it can be to contest

If someone in your family doesn't agree with your last will as you intended it, he or she may contest it in probate court. When a last will and estate plan were created decades ago, it's easy for people to argue that they were no longer reasonable representations of your intentions. Individuals could even lie about promises you made or conversations you had to convince the courts to change your last will.

One of the best ways to protect your last will as written is to update it regularly. You may also want to include a provision that strips the inheritance of anyone who contests your will in probate court.

Laws change. Estate taxes change. Your charitable goals and relationships will change as well. New people or causes may enter your life. Sometimes, the unthinkable happens and someone in your will passes on before you do. People get divorced. People also remarry. Each one of these events warrants a change to your last will and overall estate plan. Updating your last will and estate plan will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you're prepared for every eventuality. Your loved ones will also thank you, when the time comes.

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