Recently, this blog discussed estate planning in blended families. This post helps highlight the importance not only of initial estate planning, but also modifications of existing estates. After all, life changes all the time, and many of those changes can drastically affect your carefully laid out and documented plans. Therefore, to avoid estate distribution that is contrary to your wishes, you should be sure to revisit documents like wills and trusts to better ensure that your plan for your estate’s future is perfectly encapsulated within those documents.
You’ll need to exercise care when modifying these documents, though, as changes that are vague or ambiguous can lead to contention and even litigation later down the road. When it comes to wills, for example, many people choose to revoke a will and create a new one rather than creating codicils that change certain portions of an existing will. This is thought to minimize the risk of confusion.
Attorneys who are experienced at handling estates and estate planning matters know how to approach modifications in a way that is holistic and clear. These legal professionals, including those at our firm, can also ask questions that you may have never thought of which, in turn, may prompt other necessary changes. This is why it is crucial to work with a legal professional who knows the law and how it applies to your situation. While you may be able to accomplish some basic estate planning tasks on your own, a competent attorney will have a much better idea of what you need to fully protect your estate planning interests.
As we’ve discussed previously, one of estate planning’s greatest assets is its ability to be wholly customizable. Therefore, when you prepare to engage in estate planning or estate plan modification, be sure to know what you want and convey that to your attorney, even if you think it sounds silly. That legal professional will be able to help you devise a plan that suits your needs and ensures that the future of your estate and beneficiaries and heirs are secured as much as possible given the circumstances at hand.