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Reasons to update your will

No part of the estate planning process is a one-and-done kind of thing. These plans must evolve to work with life changes. For example, Massachusetts residents who have taken the time to write wills may want to review and update them for any of the following reasons.

Reason number one: family changes, including the birth of a child, death of a beneficiary or executor, and marriage or divorce. Each of these is a major life event that can affect how one wants his or her estate ultimately administered. It only takes a few minutes to make sure one's will works with his or her current family situation.

Reason number two: changes in legislation. Laws are passed every few years that can affect an estate plan. Without adapting a will to comply with current laws, it may not offer the same protection it did when it was initially prepared.

Reason number three: asset changes. Adding property to one's portfolio, or even removing it, happens time and again over the years. It is best to make sure an updated list of assets is included with one's will, along with any instructions one might have for the passing on of that property.

A will that is out of date isn't necessarily useless. It may provide some direction, but it may result in one's estate being administered in a way that one doesn't really want. It may also cause unnecessary tension between family members. Massachusetts residents who have wills in place but haven't looked at them in a while can turn to legal counsel to have these documents reviewed and, if necessary or desired, modified.

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