When estate plans need review

Ensuring that an estate plan is up to date is as important as creating one in the first place. People in Texas should review their documents and make any necessary updates when certain events occur, such as the birth of a child or a divorce.

A will can appoint a guardian for minor children. When the children grow up and get married, parents may want to consider revising the will if they are concerned about a child’s spouse having access to assets if there is a divorce. An executor who dies, such as a spouse, might eventually be replaced by a child as executor. An individual who gets a divorce may also need to revise the estate plan.

There may be situations in which a trust should be created. For example, if a beneficiary has problems with creditors or substance abuse, the trust can protect assets. A trust may also be useful if a person comes into a lot of money. Changes in the law can also necessitate a change. Individuals who move abroad or who own property abroad should look into estate planning strategies across two countries. Wills may also need updating if beneficiaries die or if it appears that family members may contest some elements of the will, particularly against non-family members. A “no contest” clause can be added.

Discussing estate planning with an attorney may help an individual avoid errors that could cause confusion later or that might even lead to the individual’s wishes not being carried out. For example, it is important to ensure that the will is consistent with other estate planning documents, such as beneficiary designations. Those documents override instructions in a will. An attorney may also be able to help ensure that the right legal language is used.