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When To Review Or Create A Will

Today Your Legal Corner will discuss "When To Review Or Create A Will."

Some folks relish the solitude of winter, accepting it as a time of quiet reflection. Others, like myself, choose instead to think of warmer times. Two summers ago, I traveled to picturesque Bar Harbor, Maine to witness the marriage of my cousin on a warm, sunny afternoon. This heartfelt event was a significant change in her life.

Two years later, she now has a beautiful baby boy in addition to a husband! Having a child represents a major event in ones' life. To that end, when major events happen, this is a signal to revise or create a will.

There are important signals that trigger when to review or create a will. Generally, wills should be reviewed every three to five years and certainly when major changes occur in our lives.

When To Review Or Create A Will

Review or create a will with a marriage, a divorce, death or birth, increase or decrease in wealth, health issues, and changes in the tax laws.

Marriage/Divorce

When you get married, it is a good time to create a will. Typically, new spouses usually name each other as primary beneficiaries when it is a first marriage for both parties. In a second marriage or after a divorce, make sure the will provides for the spouse in your present marriage as opposed to the former. It is important to address these matters when you create a will or review, whether newly married or recently divorced.

Death/Birth

Contemplate what would happen in the event an intended beneficiary predeceases you? Would his or her share remain in the estate, be shared with other named beneficiaries or simply pass to his or her children? Does the will provide for additional children or grandchildren who may not be listed or who are born after the will was created to receive a share of the proceeds? Is the term children defined to include stepson or stepdaughter? You may also want to consider adopted children. The answer depends on how the will is written.

Wealth/Health

In the event an estate increases in value near the $675,000 mark, the will should be evaluated to receive the most financial benefit and to pay the least amount of taxes. Long-term health insurance should be included if you are able to qualify. Alternatively, when an estate is modest in nature or sustains a significant decrease in value, Medicaid planning should be discussed as part of the estate plan.

So whether warm or cold, when you recognize the signs; it is time to review or create a will and consult with an estate attorney!

Till next week, God bless, keep smiling and remember who's in Your Legal Corner when YLC will discuss "Know What Must Be Included In A Valid Will."

Victoria M. Dalton is an Attorney Of Counsel with the well-respected Law Offices of Hoffman DiMuzio.

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Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational articles about the law and is not legal advice! Always consult with an attorney to address your legal needs.

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