PREVENT A FAMILY FEUD BY REVIEWING YOUR ESTATE PLANS REGULARLY
March 13, 2015
There are many cases throughout the country where parents did not review their estate plans carefully and family members are now fighting over the estates. For example, if you as a parent say that you intend to leave a large portion of your estate to your children but you don't actually update your will to reflect that, the courts will either automatically revert to your previous Will or, if you did not leave a Will, give all your assets to your surviving spouse.
HOW ESTATE LAW WORKS
Trusts and wills are created so that a portion of a person's estate is passed to another individual. They are created to avoid or reduce estate taxes and make sure that family and friends are cared for. The courts, however, do not care about your intentions in creating your estate planning documents - they only care about the law. When documents are not notarized or lack specification, the courts must derive their decisions from the law rather than the individual's intentions.
Often, people create a Will or a trust but then don't review them. If you don't review your documents frequently, you won't know if your current estate plan matches your current lifestyle and intentions. Having children, getting divorced, selling or buying a home, all can affect a previously made estate plan.
Without regular reviews, your estate plan can become quickly outdated. So you should review it at least once every other year and especially after significant life changes to avoid giving the courts power to make decisions for you.