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Reviewing and Updating Your Will 

Bochnewich Law Offices May 27, 2024

Creating a will is a fundamental step in securing your estate and ensuring your wishes are honored after you're gone. However, drafting a will is not a one-time task; it requires regular reviews and updates to reflect the changes in your life and the law.

It’s important that you keep your will up-to-date, and we at Bochnewich Law Offices are here to help California residents of all ages with their estate plans. Reach out to us to have your will drafted, reviewed, or updated.

The Significance of Regular Will Reviews

Life is dynamic, and so are your needs and circumstances. Regularly reviewing your will ensures it remains aligned with your current situation and wishes. Here are some crucial reasons for periodic reviews: 

  • Life events: Marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a beneficiary can significantly impact your will. 

  • Asset changes: Acquiring new assets like property, investments, or a business necessitates updates to your will. 

  • Legal changes: Changes in estate laws, especially in California, can render parts of your will obsolete or non-compliant. 

Consider the case of an individual who created a will before getting married. If they fail to update it, their spouse might not receive any assets, leading to potential disputes. Similarly, if a parent doesn't update their will after the birth of a second child, only the first child might inherit their estate, unintentionally disinheriting the second child. 

Reviewing Your Will Step-by-Step

Reviewing your will is a crucial process to ensure that it accurately reflects your current life circumstances and wishes. By following a systematic approach, you can make necessary updates efficiently and effectively. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process: 

  • Step 1: Retrieve your current will. Locate your most recent will. If you don't have a copy, obtain one from your attorney or the place where it's stored. 

  • Step 2: Review personal information. Ensure that all personal details, such as names and addresses, are current. 

  • Step 3: Examine beneficiaries and executors. Make sure the individuals named as beneficiaries and executors are still appropriate. Life changes like marriage, divorce, or death might require changes. 

  • Step 4: Assess asset distribution. Review the distribution of your assets. Ensure that any new assets are included and that the distribution still aligns with your wishes. 

  • Step 5: Check for legal compliance. California estate laws change periodically. Ensure your will complies with current laws to avoid complications. 

  • Step 6: Consult professionals. Seek legal advice to ensure your will is comprehensive and legally sound. Professionals can provide insights into aspects you might overlook. 

By adhering to these steps, you can ensure that your will is current and fully represents your intentions. Taking the time to review and update your will proactively can prevent future disputes and provide peace of mind knowing your affairs are in order. 

Elements to Consider in an Updated Will

When updating your will, it's essential to consider various aspects of your life that may have changed since you last reviewed it. Below are key elements to keep in mind when making updates to your will: 

  • Marriage or divorce: Include or exclude a spouse based on your current marital status. 

  • Birth or adoption of children: Add new children as beneficiaries to provide for their future. 

  • Death of a beneficiary: Remove deceased beneficiaries and reallocate their share appropriately. 

  • Significant asset changes: Incorporate new properties, investments, or businesses to ensure comprehensive coverage. 

  • Community property laws in California: Adjust your will to reflect California's specific community property laws to avoid potential legal challenges. 

By considering these factors during the will update process, you can ensure that your document remains relevant and legally sound.  

The Role of Professionals in Will Reviews and Updates

Legal professionals play a pivotal role in the process of will reviews and updates, ensuring that your document remains legally sound and aligned with your current wishes. Additionally, they can offer valuable insights into aspects you might overlook, such as tax implications and the impact of community property laws. 

By consulting with an estate planning attorney, you can confidently address any potential issues and guarantee that your will is both comprehensive and compliant with the latest legal standards. This professional guidance can prevent future disputes and provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your estate will be managed according to your exact wishes. 

FAQs on Will Reviews and Updates

How Often Should I Review My Will? 

Review your will every three to five years or after any significant life event. 

What Happens If I Don't Update My Will? 

Failing to update your will can lead to unintended consequences, such as disinheriting loved ones or facing legal disputes. 

Can I Update My Will Myself? 

While you can make minor updates yourself, it's advisable to seek professional guidance for significant changes to ensure legal compliance. 

What Should I Do If I Move to a Different State? 

Different states have different estate laws. If you move to another state, review your will to ensure it complies with the new state's laws. 

Is It Expensive to Update My Will? 

The cost of updating a will varies but is generally a worthwhile investment to ensure your estate is properly managed. 

Make the Right Move—Review Your Will Today

Regularly reviewing and updating your will is crucial for ensuring your estate plan remains effective and aligned with your wishes. Whether you're a new parent or a retiree, taking the time to review your will can save your loved ones from unnecessary stress and legal complications. 

At Bochnewich Law Offices, we are dedicated to helping you protect your rights and assets. Our experienced team offers comprehensive estate planning services tailored to your unique needs. Don't wait until it's too late. Assess the state of your will today and seek professional advice to ensure your legacy is secure.