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Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents


Once they make a will, many people will put it in a safe deposit box or leave a copy with their attorney, and forget about it. However, there are many reasons to review and update your will and other estate planning documents.

Below is a checklist of events that may prompt you to do so.

____ The individuals you have named are deceased.
____ New people should be named in your will (e.g. birth, adoption).
____ Divorce or marriage.
____ New state laws. You need to periodically check to see whether your state has enacted new laws that impact your estate planning documents. More importantly, if you move to a different state, don’t assume that your will made in your previous state conforms to the requirements of your new state. Each state has its own legal requirements for making a will.
____ Change in guardians, personal representatives, or trustees.
____ Children reach the age of eighteen.
____ A substantial increase or decrease in the value of your estate.
____ The acquisition or disposition of a significant asset.
____ You should see an attorney about reviewing and updating your estate plans prior to reaching 701/2 years of age if you have an IRA, 401(k), or other qualified plan that requires you to begin to take distributions at age 701/2. The beneficiary that you designated will have an irrevocable impact on both your and your beneficiary’s required distributions.
____ The passage of time is reason enough. You should review your will and estate planning documents every three to five years.

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