Update Your Estate Plan to Address Probate Concerns

A probate attorney consulting clients at his office.

If you pass away with an outdated will, or no will at all, your estate is subject to a process called probate. When this happens, the state takes over distribution of your assets and ensures your debts are paid. It can be very expensive for your loved ones, and it will take up a great deal of their time. Unfortunately, even when you take the right steps to set up your estate, it cannot be considered a finished matter. Wills and trusts should be reviewed often to ensure your loved ones do not have to go through the probate process.

When to Update Your Estate Plan

How often you update your will or trust depends on your specific situation and any life changes that occur after the creation of the plan. For complex estates, annual updates may be necessary. Less elaborate estate plans may only need to be updated every few years or when there is a major life event.

Reasons to update your will and trusts include, but are not limited to:

  • Buying or selling real estate
  • Inheriting money or high-value assets
  • Retirement
  • Opening or closing investments
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Remarriage
  • Arrival of children or stepchildren
  • Children reaching adulthood

The best way to ensure your estate is up to date is by reviewing it each year. This does not mean you must make changes every year, only that you make sure the information and asset distribution is still applicable. Reviewing on the same date each year can help make it easier to remember. Tying it to another event, like tax filing, may help jog your memory.

Work with an Expert

The most important thing you can do is work with a legal team to ensure your plan is likely to stand up to any challenges. This is crucial in situations where there has been a divorce, family disruption or if you are pre-deceased by one of your chosen beneficiaries. It is also critical when your assets increase or decrease. Reviewing your estate plan, even if it is only a straightforward one, can help your loved ones steer clear of probate concerns.

If you are looking to create, update or review your estate plans, contact Turner Law today.

Posted on the behalf of Turner Law, LLC