When was the last time you took a look at your Last Will and Testament or Trust? If it was five years ago or more, then you should consider dusting it off and reading through to make sure it’s up to date.
Remember, a lot can change in five years: the birth of new family members, marriages and divorces, or even significant changes in your finances are just some of the reasons you should revisit your Last Will and Testament or Trust, as well as the rest of your estate planning documents like your Power of Attorney and Living Will. Just keep in mind, though, that if you notice your Last Will and Testament is out of date and you revoke it, you should have a replacement ready to go.
Revoking a Last Will and Testament is not as cut and dry as simply ripping up the original document or putting it through a shredder. A probate court will, on rare occasions, accept a copy of a Last Will and Testament if there is reason to believe that the original is either lost or accidentally or maliciously destroyed. The simple fact that there is a precedent for courts accepting Wills marked “COPY” should give pause to anyone who thinks about ripping up their original Last Will and Testament to change their estate plan.
Instead, if you want to revoke your Last Will and Testament due to changes in your family’s situation, you should speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. A Will lawyer can help you figure out the best way to change your estate plan, which will probably involve rewriting your Will, Power of Attorney, and Living Will documents. (Again, simply destroying these documents can create a legal mess by leaving you without the coverage an estate plan provides.)
Taking a look at your Last Will and Testament, as well as your other estate planning documents, every five years is a good habit to ensure your wishes are known to your family and you have the proper planning in place. If you believe you may have a problem with certain family members once you’ve changed your estate plan, you may want to seek the advice of an experienced Will Lawyer to talk about your options.
If you would like to learn more about revoking your existing Last Will and Testament, or if you’d like to review your existing estate plan, please contact us at 941-909-4644 or 763-420-5087 to schedule an estate planning strategy session.