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The importance of updating a will

An estate plan is an important set of legal documents for many Florida residents. It likely contains a will and other estate planning documents that set out a person's final wishes. While these documents are not needed until a person's death, Florida residents should avoid the temptation to just file them away and forget about them.

Just like people's preferences for other areas of their life, people's preferences for their estate can change over time. It is important to review these legal documents and update them from time to time. In general, it is recommended for people to review their will at least every three to five years to ensure that it still meets all of their needs. However, there are other times were a complete review of a person's estate plan is necessary.

In particular, it is important to update a person's will after major life changes. These include the death of someone named in the will, the birth or adoption of a new child, a new marriage or following a divorce. These events can all significantly change how a person's estate plan will look.

People should also review their will when there have been significant changes in their estate, when their children reach adulthood, when they reach retirement age or after acquiring a significant asset. If people want to change the guardian named in the will or other personal representative, then a change is necessary. Additionally, changes in state laws can necessitate a review of a person's will.

Creating a will and maintaining it are often no easy task. It is important that people realize that these documents need to be reviewed and updated over time. An attorney can help to create an estate plan and keep it updated so that people can best protect their family.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents," accessed Feb. 9, 2015

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