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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Keeping Your Wills and Trusts Updated | Fair Oaks Estate Planning Tips

March 25, 2013

It’s always a great feeling when a new client meets with a wills and trusts attorney in order to get started on his or her estate planning. Every day, people in Fair Oaks, CA recognize the importance of putting a plan into place to prepare for their own futures as well as those of their loved ones. Wills and trusts are two very important tools that the client and lawyer can create to protect that future. As important as that initial meeting is, however, there is still a need to follow up regularly to keep your wills and trusts updated and reflecting your current situation.

There are some times when it is obvious that your wills and trusts should be updated, but there are other times that are easier to overlook.

Major Life Changes

When there is a major change in your life, it’s time to call your Fair Oaks wills and trusts lawyer. These types of changes, such as a marriage, divorce, or birth of a child will pretty dramatically affect who you want to name as beneficiaries. For example, if you’ve been divorced but your ex is still named in your wills and trusts, he or she could still benefit after your death.

Health situations are also another big indicator that it’s time to update your wills and trusts. Medical care can be incredibly expensive, and you may need to rearrange your plans to accommodate the costs. If dealing with a terminal illness or potentially life-threatening treatment, it also makes sense to ensure that your plans reflect your wishes.

Many Purchases Should Trigger Updates

Wills and trusts lawyers in Fair Oaks are able to help clients lay out a plan based on what the client has at the time. When your situation changes through major purchases (or sales) of real estate or other valuable assets, you should update your estate plan to reflect those changes. You want to ensure that the asset is included in your will or protected by your trust.

Purchases of or changes in insurance policies will likely also lead to a call to your Fair Oaks trust attorney. These purchases will affect what you have to leave behind and will need to be reflected in your estate plan. A good estate plan will always consider and include your life insurance policies, annuities and retirement assets. The beneficiary designations associated with these assets must be coordinated with your planning to ensure the plan works as you desire.

Annual Review

While you may not need to make changes with your Fair Oaks wills and trusts attorney every year, it’s still a good idea to do an annual review of all your estate planning materials. In addition to refreshing yourself on what is there, your lawyer will also be able to advise you on any laws that have recently changed that might affect decisions you’d previously made. Just reading over the documents may be enough to notice a change that needs to be made. Not only does this give you an opportunity to make sure your plans still fit your needs, but by keeping them up-to-date, you are strengthening your will against being invalidated later. After all, if you’ve worked with an attorney to keep the wills and trusts fresh and in accordance with the most recent changes, they are likely to reflect your true intentions.

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I totally see the difference between your service and your typical legal estate planning service. The experience you mentioned where you get this big document you don’t understand and a trust that never gets funded was EXACTLY our first experience. It cost a small fortune too. Really - it is the difference between providing a legal document and providing an estate planning service.

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