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When to make changes to a will

Californians with any assets or property to their name should consider drafting a will regardless of their age. Wills can help ensure that assets are allocated to beneficiaries as intended. It is also important to revise wills when needed to add beneficiaries, such as when a child is born. Individuals should also consider updating their wills whenever they inherit a large sum of money or an item of property.

The birth of a child is not the only reason to change a will. Wills should also be changed prior to a divorce to ensure that an ex-spouse does not inherit separate assets unintentionally. Parents may want to change their wills when their children get married if they want to include or exclude their child’s new spouse from the will.

Generally, wills designate an executor to oversee the distribution of assets from a will. If an appointed executor passes away, like a parent, a will designating that person as the executor should be updated as soon as possible. Children who reach adulthood may be good candidates, so parents should consider revising their wills once their children are at a responsible age.

If, on the other hand, a child develops problems like gambling or drug addiction, parents should take steps to prevent their child from inheriting money that could go toward the addiction. A third party can be assigned to handle a child’s assets and only distribute those assets to the child for certain things, like college tuition.

Another issue that can affect how people want to allocate their assets is changes in the law. Congress regularly passes new legislation that can impact a person’s estate plan. An experienced estate planning attorney may help people stay on top of these changes.

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