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Posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My wife and I updated our wills several years ago, when our kids were younger. How often should we update them?

We were recently hired by an executor to probate the will of a client whose Will was signed in the 1970s. That will was over 40 years old, but it was the last will the client ever signed, and it was never revoked. Therefore, that Will was accepted for Probate. So, a will does not have to be updated if it still reflects your wishes.

That being said, the world does change, people change, and the law and tax rules certainly do change. These changes make it a good practice to have your will reviewed every 5 years or so to make sure that your planning still makes sense and that taxes are avoided, if possible.

For example, in your case, it sounds like your will likely refers to your children as minors, but they are now adults. That change often means that the brother or sister you named as successor executor is no longer needed, and one or more of your children can take on the responsibility of successor executor. The estate and inheritance tax rules have certainly changed over the last 15 years, especially the rules surrounding qualified plans (IRAs, 401ks, etc.).

The review of your Will may prove that no change is needed, but having the review makes good sense. You won’t know about the new tax savings options if you don’t ask!

If you would like more information about estate planning, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.

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