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Why it's important to update estate planning documents

Going through the time-consuming task of fashioning an estate plan may fall short if that plan isn't updated as life changes. Estate planning documents in Illinois should always be as current as possible and should reflect current life situations. Amassing documents like a will and storing them in a safety deposit box for decades without ever looking at them again may be doing beneficiaries a great disservice.

The only constant in life is change. People get married, people get divorced, babies are born and people die. if estate planning documents don't reflect those changes, it may cause angst for loved ones when the testator dies. As a rule of thumb, estate planning documents should be reviewed about every three years, and sooner when significant life events occur.

If there is a sizable increase or decrease to the value of the estate, updates should reflect that. If an executor should die, a will must name a new person for the duty. If a beneficiary should die, his or her name should be removed from any documents. Marriage, divorce and remarriage changes the look of an estate plan as well.

There are times, too, when the laws in Illinois may change with respect to estate planning. An attorney may be able to help when it comes to changing estate planning documents to reflect state and federal law. If someone moves to Illinois from another state, he or she should not assume the laws are the same when it comes to wills and other estate issues. It might be best to check with an attorney.

Source: Findlaw, "Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents", Accessed on March 19, 2018

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