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Wills must be updated following major life changes

Estate planning is an ongoing process in New York because life is constantly changing. In addition to creating wills or setting up trusts, it is important for people to ensure that their estate plans are regularly updated. Several situations are indicators of the need to review and update an estate plan.

First, it is wise for people to update their estate plans if they receive large sums of money -- such as through lotteries -- that change their estates' values significantly. People may also benefit from changing their estate plans if they experience changes in their income levels or requirements or if they are getting ready to retire. A change in a family situation may also require an estate plan update, such as a change in one's marital status or the birth or adoption of a child or grandchild.

It is also important to change an estate plan in the event of the death of a spouse, grandchild or child, or if one becomes incapacitated or falls ill. Changing an estate plan is also a wise idea if other people, such as a person's parents, are now dependent on the person. A change in insurance coverage, such as health insurance or life insurance, may additionally spark the need to make changes in one's estate plan.

Estate planning can understandably feel like an overwhelming process in New York, especially for those with large numbers of assets. However, an applied understanding of the law may help individuals to develop wills and other estate plan documents with their best interests in mind. Proper legal guidance can also help them to keep their plans up to date in the years ahead.

Source: wmur.com, "Money Matters: The 'final' estate-planning step", Marc Hebert, Aug. 11, 2016

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