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When Should I Update My Will?

  • Wade Christiansen
  • Sun, 01/14/2018 - 10:45am

Being fully prepared for the loss of family members brings peace of mind.  An important part of that preparation is having a Last Will and Testament that properly disposes of the decedent's property at the time of death, and expresses the person's wishes as to other legal matters such as guardianship of minor children.  Many Texans have previously created a Will.  However, questions often arise about whether the previously created Will is legally sufficient today.  Today's blog post will address the circumstances that may warrant preparing an updated Will.


Each state and country has it's own specific requirements for the validity of a Will.  If your Will was prepared pursuant to the laws of another state, and you have since moved to Texas, you should meet with a Texas estate planning lawyer to determine whether you need an updated Will.  Likewise, if you move from Texas to another state, you should consult with a lawyer in the new state of residence.  


Most married people bequeath the entirety of their estate to their surviving spouse.  In the event of divorce from the spouse you have named as primary beneficiary in your Will, you should strongly consider preparing a new Will, especially if you re-marry.

Increased Value of Property

Hopefully, the value of your property increases over time.  When it increases significantly, you may want to reconsider how your estate is distributed.  For example, you may want to bequeath a portion of your property to charitable organizations rather than giving all of it to your family.  Also, certain levels of assets can trigger estate taxes.  To avoid having a portion of the estate used to pay estate taxes, Texans with large estates should consider creating a Living Trust. 

Changing relationships with proposed Guardians

If you have minor children, your Will probably names an individual that you propose to serve as Guardian of your children if you and the other parent die before the children have reached adulthood.  Occasionally, the circumstances of the proposed Guardian change.  Examples include the proposed Guardian moving out of the country, a strain in the family relationship that makes the Guardian unwilling to assist, or other personal issues of the Guardian such as criminal activity, drug use or alcohol abuse.  If anything has happened that cause you concern about the proposed Guardian, you should consider preparing a new Will that names a new Guardian.

Having a properly drafted Last Will and Testament can give you a sense of security and can prevent your family having to face unecessary legal challenges in the event of your death.  If any of the above circumstances have occurred in your life, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney as soon as possible.  The attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have extensive experience advising clients on estate planning issues and preparing necessary estate planning documents.  For additional information, contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio.


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