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When to Change your Will or Trust

By Bradley J.Frigon

 

I am frequently asked when a will or trust should be changed.  While time alone will not affect the validity of a will or trust, you should review your estate planning documents at least every three years to determine whether your will or trust still accomplishes your goals.

The following checklist can be used to identify events that may require a change in your will or trust.  This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good place to start.

Checklist:

The birth of a child;

The death of a child, spouse, parent or grandchild;

The person you named as your personal representative, trustee, guardian is no longer suitable or has died or moved;

You will does not create a trust for your minor children or grandchildren;

You have a spouse, child, grandchild or parent with a disability who is receiving government benefits;

Your property has appreciated in value or you have inherited property;

You have recently moved form or to another state;

You own real property in another state;

You have adopted a child or your child has adopted a child;

Your current will or trust is more than five years old;

There has been a change of ownership or operation in the family business;

You want to preserve a vacation home or other real estate for future generations;

Your child has filed or is currently in the middle of a divorce or bankruptcy;

Your child or spouse is irresponsible with money or has developed a drug or alcohol problem;

You have sold property that you specifically devised to someone in your will or trust;

You have acquired additional assets that are not titled in your trust;

Everything you own is owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship;

You have recently married or divorced;

You are living with someone who is not your spouse;

You have titled property in your name and a friend’s name or a family member’s name;

You have remarried and you have children from a prior marriage;

You are contemplating making significant gifts to your children; and

Your spouse or child is about to enter a nursing home.

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