Is it Time to Amend Your Will or Trust?
Once you create your estate plan, you might assume you can rest easy for a while based on those initial documents. In fact, too many people never revisit their will or trust to determine whether important changes need to be made. Failing to review and amend your will or trust as necessary can result in undesirable outcomes, including neglecting to take care of loved ones when you would normally intend to do so.
It is wise to schedule regular appointments with an experienced wills and trusts attorney in St. Louis to review your estate planning documents. However, there are other times it might be necessary to amend your will or trust.
Marriage or Divorce
Estate planning laws in Missouri provide for certain spousal inheritance after marriage, though you might want to set out a different distribution of your property than the law dictates. For example, addressing your estate plan is essential if you got married and have children from a previous relationship. You do not want your new spouse to inherit all of your property while not providing for your children. You should specify your new preferences for distributions in your will and trust.
Divorce will similarly disinherit a spouse from your will, though you still want to amend your will to designate who should now be entitled to your property since it is no longer your ex-spouse. Many married couples also have joint trusts, and you will want to revoke that trust and create a new one on your own in this situation.
Having a Child
When you have a child, you should amend your will and trust to account for your new beneficiary. Not only can you make sure that your child is included and will inherit under your estate plan, but you can also do the following:
- Designate in your will who should be the guardian of your minor child should something happen to both you and the other parent
- Decide how specific distributions will be made to the child through your trust and who will be in charge of managing those assets
It is recommended to revisit your estate plan each time you have a new child.
Your Estate Changed
Over time, the nature of your property and assets can change significantly. Did you start a successful business? Lose assets in a failed investment prospect? Purchase new real estate? Experience a windfall? Any important changes in your estate – positive or not – should warrant a review of your will and trust. If your estate increases in value, you might want to add beneficiaries, including your favorite charitable causes. If your estate decreased, you might want to limit distributions to charities or non-family members to focus on your core beneficiaries.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Wills and Trusts Lawyer for More Information
At Bruntrager & Billings, P.C., we assist clients with initial estate plan creation, as well as regular reviews of wills and trusts to identify any possible amendments that will strengthen your estate plan and achieve your long-term goals. Contact us online or call 314-646-0066 to set up a consultation today.