female attorney reviewing documentsThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing important issues to be considered when preparing a Last Will and Testament in Hartford, Connecticut. Our previous article highlighted several common mistakes residents make when creating a Will. Consequences of certain errors can render a Will invalid. Others can result in prolonged legal challenges, assets distributed to unintended recipients, and even the accidental disinheritance of a loved one. As DIY Wills become more popular, it is important to understand these risks and their consequences. Mistakes can be avoided by consulting with experienced estate planning counsel when preparing a Will. In this post, we will address the importance of updating existing Wills on a periodic basis. If you need assistance, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

After preparing and executing a Last Will and Testament, people generally store the document with their other important files and continue on with their lives. Many hope not to think about it again for years to come. It is important to remember, however, that as time goes by, important life events occur that may require reconsideration of the decisions made in your original Will. Family circumstances may evolve, for instance, resulting in the addition of children or grandchildren. Marriages and divorces occur that may impact the choice of one’s guardians for minor children. Illnesses, deaths, or other life experiences may alter one’s choice of beneficiaries, Executor, or more. Failing to review one’s Will periodically could result in unintended consequences with respect to the distribution of assets to beneficiaries or the resolution of one’s estate.

Consider the following example. A young husband and wife create Wills as part of their estate planning process. They have two children at the time and identify the wife’s sister and her husband to serve as guardians should something happen to them. They intend to leave their remaining assets to their children. So as not to overburden her sister upon their deaths, both spouses name the husband’s brother as their respective Executor. After ten years have passed, the sister and her husband, who now have four kids of their own, have moved to Europe for employment reasons. The husband’s brother has been tragically diagnosed with a terminal illness. If the couple schedules a periodic review of their estate plan, they will likely recognize that their selections for Executor and guardians in their original Wills should be updated to address the new family circumstances. Failing to do so could result in an unclear situation should they pass away.

Creating a Will is important. Keeping that document updated to reflect your current wishes will help ensure that your goals and objectives are honored upon your death. Contact our office today to speak with a Hartford estate planning lawyer. We also serve the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.