Russ Cook & Associates, PC

Changes in life and law make estate plan review a good idea

It might have been after your marriage or the birth of your first child. Some people do it before their entire family boards a plane together for the first time or when they lose a parent. No matter what the occasion, for many people it has been years since they last reviewed their will.

And for some, will preparation is something they have been meaning to do, but just haven't gotten around to it. No matter where you are on the spectrum, it can make sense to sit down with your estate planning attorney and make sure that your plans say and do what you want in the event of your death.

Changes over the years in Tennessee and federal estate tax laws might mean that you are not being as protective of your assets and your heirs as you want to be. In combination with changes in your personal circumstances (divorce, birth of a child, marriage, etc.), changes in law can mean the will you created several years ago is today outdated.

The best place to begin a review of a will is to review those you have named as executor and guardians for your children. Look too at the names of those who you picked as successors for the executor or guardian.

Are they still able and willing to perform those duties? Do you still feel as you once did about them?

A recent news article on the subject suggests contacting those named to let them know of your decision. That gives them the opportunity to beg off, if they so choose, which would in turn give you the chance to name a replacement.

Be sure to discuss the language of the will with your estate planning attorney. If anything is unclear, the lawyer can help you understand it, or alter it if needed.

It's a good idea to undertake a review every few years, just to ensure that you and your heirs are getting what you want from the documents.

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