Recently I was reminded of how important it is to update your Will when circumstances change. A client came to see me about probating her husband’s Will. Unfortunately, her husband had signed the Will before he met my client and did not take the time to revise it. Since he did not have any children at the time, the husband left his entire estate to his brother. As a result, my client will not inherit anything from her husband unless his brother renounces his inheritance or my client exercises her right of election which would entitle her to about 1/3 of her husband’s estate.
This unfortunate situation is not uncommon and could have easily been avoided. Every few years it is worthwhile to review your Will to be sure that the beneficiaries named are the people you do, in fact, want as beneficiaries. Also confirm that the named executor is the person you want to handle your estate and that he/she is still willing and able to do so. If there have been marriages, divorces, births or deaths in your family, there is a good chance that it is time to revise your Will.
Linda M. Toga of The Law Offices of Linda M. Toga, P.C. is an East Setauket, New York attorney with a general law practice focusing on estate planning, real estate, marital planning, small business services and litigation.