The hardest step of estate planning is the initial preparation of your Will or your Trust. But, it is sometimes necessary that you may need to revise your estate planning documents. We all know life happens, beneficiaries or trustees pass away, someone unexpected comes into your life, or maybe you start to feel a little more generous and decide to donate more to a charity. Whatever life throws at you it is important to know when you should revise your estate planning documents. The revision of a Will or Trust is called a Codicil and can either replace the whole Trust or Will, or just certain provisions contained in the Will or Trust.
First, it may be necessary to revise your estate planning documents if a beneficiary or trustee passes away. Sometimes Wills or Trusts can be in effect for 20 to 30 years before they become useful, and a lot can happen in that time frame. One thing that can happen is the death of a trustee or beneficiary. When this occurs and you do not have a backup trustee or beneficiary your estate is susceptible to probate because the courts will not know how to distribute the property and the residual estate. Without a living named beneficiary or trustee the court will have to use its discretion to appoint a personal representative or executor of the estate to distribute the probate property which can be time consuming and expensive.
Second, life changes can happen and maybe you want to add someone or take someone off of your Will or Trust. Maybe you got remarried, had a falling out with a close relative, or you had some more time to think about what you want to happen when you pass away and you decide someone is more competent to take over than the person you originally chose. Whatever the situation may be, if you want someone else to be the beneficiary or trustee on you estate planning documents it is necessary to make the requisite changes. The courts will not automatically assume or know what to do when you pass away, and making sure that your beneficiaries and trustees stay up to date helps with the probate process and saves your loved ones a lot of time, money, and stress because making the necessary changes is better in the long run.
Third, if you decide to change a provision in your Will or Trust it is necessary to make a revision to your estate planning documents. These would include changes in distribution percentages, distribution in property assets, either adding or taking people out of the Will or Trust, or adding new restrictions to access the trust or to take from the Will. To make these changes it is necessary to revise the Will or Trust for the same reasons state above.
The attorney’s at Skillern Law Firm PLLC are familiar with the nuances and challenges that come with changing estate planning documents and making sure that everything is set the way you want it for when you are not around anymore. Making necessary changes to your Will or Trust is a smart decision in the long run knowing that your loved ones have peace of mind in a time that is already stressful enough. Call the attorney’s at Skillern Law Firm PLLC at 918-805-2511 to set up an appointment to go over your options to make the necessary revisions to your Will or Trust.