In many cases clients have their first Will, Medical and General Powers of Attorney and Living Will prepared after they are married or have children or after they purchase their first home. But then the question is when I do I need to update my documents.
My rule of thumb is that you should review your Wills and Power’s of Attorney at least once every 10 years or upon some major changes in your life such as death, divorce or having children. It is very common for couples to leave their assets to their spouse and designate that same person as the Executor of their Will. If you are now separated or divorced, you may no longer want that person to have any control over how your assets are handled after your death or to receive any inheritance. If you have children and named your spouse’s/partner’s family as a guardian for your children, you may no longer want that person taking care of your children. If you did not have any children when your Will was prepared, then you need to update it and name a guardian in the event both you and your spouse die before your child is a legal adult. If you don’t you could create a costly legal and emotional nightmare for your families who will be fighting over the custody of your children if you a guardian was not named in your Will or if you do not have a Will.
In addition, someone you named as an Executor or beneficiary may have died since the Will was prepared and you need to take them out of your Will. You may now also have a significant amount of assets since your first Will was done and may need more sophisticated estate planning.
This same logic applies to your Medical and General Powers of Attorney. These documents give another person a great deal of control over your assets and personal and financial affairs. Its also gives the agent the power to make medical decisions for you when you are not able to do so yourself. If your current Power of Attorney names your ex-spouse as your agent you can revoke it and sign a new Power of Attorney choosing a different person to act as your agent.
Even if you these situations do not apply to you the older your Will is the more likely that the laws may have changed, or the times have changed where potential issues like control of your digital assets and social media accounts are not mentioned in your Powers of Attorney or Will as it was not an issue at the time it was prepared. However, now it could be an issue is and updated language may need to be added to your documents. If you have any questions or want to updated your estate documents please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog posting is for general information purposes only. Nothing in this blog or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information in this blog is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.