Estate planning is an important task of creating a Will so as to ensure that your property is distributed as you would like it to be rather than have your property pass intestate. However, estate planning is not a one-time process, you occasionally will want to re-evaluate and correct your Will. By re-evaluating your estate plan you will be able to make corrections and changes to gifts or the beneficiaries. Below we explain when it is best to review your estate plan to ensure your wishes are still outlined appropriately.
There is no one time that is best over another to review your Will but most attorneys will recommend reviewing your will every few years or when there are big changes in your life. For instance, if you have received a large amount of money or had major changes in a business that you own, you certainly want to review your estate plan and make changes to reflect the change in your assets. If at the time of your passing the will does not reflect this increased amount of money it may be passed down through intestate; similarly, if the testator has lost or sold a gift that is in the will it will be considered to have been adeemed and that beneficiary will not receive anything.
Changes in marital status or the addition of children to a family are also big life changes that should prompt you to review your Will. If you get married after executing a will and you never change the plan to reflect your new spouse then your property will first pass by intestacy to your spouse and then the rest will be divided as you stated in your Will. Depending on the type of family you have with your spouse will determine just how much of the estate they will receive through intestacy, rather than following what you outlined in your estate plan. However, if you do get a divorce in Pennsylvania a probate court will probate your will as if your spouse had predeceased you; meaning, they will not receive what you originally left for them but their heirs can receive the property. It is also suggested to review your Will when there is an addition to your family so that the plan will reflect any gifts that are to be made to this person.
If you do not have any major life changes it is still suggested to go over your estate plan to ensure that everything is correct and that the will reflects the current law. You will want to make any changes possible to ensure that your wishes are going to be abided by rather than having part of your estate pass as instructed by the Pennsylvania intestate statutes.
If you are looking to create an estate plan contact our Pittsburgh Wills and estate planning attorneys at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates today. Our attorneys will help you as best they can in planning for any changes that can take place that would affect your plan. Contact us today so that we can provide you with more information about what can go into your estate plan.