Is it Time for a Legal Checkup?

It’s important to visit your physician when you notice some change in your health. A medical checkup offers you a chance to discuss issues with your doctor, ask questions, and get professional input on your overall health. Like your annual exam with your doctor, a regular estate plan check-up with your attorney will help you minimize the risk of future unexpected hardships that might arise from incomplete or outdated documents.

 

Creating an estate plan is the first step in protecting your family and assets. However, circumstances often change, and relationships alter over time, determining if your will still accurately reflects your wishes and desires. Once you’ve created an estate plan, you cannot just shove it in your safe and forget about it. As a rule of thumb, you should review your estate plan every three to five years.

 

When should you consider a legal checkup or update to your estate plan?

 

You should consider a legal checkup or update your plan if the following events occur:

 

  •  The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild
  •  A child or grandchild becomes an adult
  •  A child or grandchild needs educational funding
  •  Death or change in circumstances of the guardian named in your will for minor children
  •  Changes in your number of dependents, such as the addition of an adult for whom you will be responsible
  •  Change in your or your spouse’s financial or other goals
  •  Illness, disability, or death of your spouse
  •  Change in your life or long-term care insurance coverage
  •  Purchasing a home or other significant asset
  •  Borrowing a large amount of money or taking on liability for any other reason
  •  Significant increases or decreases in the value of assets, such as investments
  •  If you or your spouse receives a large inheritance or gift
  •  Changes in federal or state laws covering taxes and investments
  •  If any family member passes away, becomes ill, or becomes disabled
  •  Death or change in circumstance of your executor or trustee
  •  Career changes, such as a new job, promotion, or if you start or close a business

If you answered yes to any of the above, it’s time for a checkup.

 

Should you get a new will or a codicil to your will?

 

Whether you require a new will or a codicil depends on how significant a change you wish to make.

 

There are different ways to make a change depending on what changes you need to make. If you’re making a small change, like switching executors, you should be able to do so using a document called a codicil.

 

However, if you require a major change, you may need to prepare a new will to prevent any confusion, ensure your wishes are accurately carried out, and that the route you’re choosing is the best way forward. 

 

We can help you review and update a will if necessary. We can assist you by walking you through your goals in light of your new situation and analyze whether your documents achieve those goals. Call us today.

STAY UP TO DATE

Subscribe to our newsletters

 
Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.

FURTHER READING

Latest Blog Posts

A prenup can take many of the “what ifs” off the table in the event of divorce. What is separate property, who might have to maintain life insurance, and who will keep the heirloom piano that’s been passed down for…

Many people find it challenging to get started with estate planning. From confusion about the process to denying that estate planning is necessary, there are various reasons why people do not want to create an estate plan. That said, estate…

After divorce, it is common to experience feelings of shame. That shame could arise from multiple sources, including feeling that you let your spouse or children down or because you are worried about what others may think of you. Regardless…

Estate planning can feel overwhelming, but it is necessary to ensure your assets are in order and your loved ones are taken care of. Establishing an estate plan can also make certain issues easier for you and your family during…

In Washington state, alimony is referred to as maintenance. Maintenance is court-ordered spousal support payments that one spouse makes to assist with the living expenses of the other spouse for a period of time and for a particular purpose.  Maintenance…

The homes. The boat. The investment accounts. During a high-net-worth divorce, the disposition of these and other assets (and debts) may be one of the most significant reasons underlying the contention between you and your soon-to-be-ex, making these types of…

This is part three of our three-part series, “Expecting the Unexpected.” You can read part one on catastrophic illness here and part two on chronic illness here. Estate planning may initially bring to mind the process of outlining the manner…

It seemed like it was going to be just another day. Get the kids off to school, do household chores, go to work. But then your spouse let you know it was over between you, that they want a divorce.…

This is part two of three in our series “Expecting the Unexpected. You can read part one on catastrophic illness here. For many, estate planning immediately brings to mind ways you can protect your assets and retirement funds for your…

When considering divorce, you may toy with the idea of representing yourself. For example, you may think your divorce will be relatively straightforward. Or maybe you consider yourself a savvy negotiator and highly intelligent. Or the idea of saving yourself…