Monday, August 1, 2011

Six Sure Fire Ways to Make Sure Your Will is Up to Date

Six Sure Fire Ways to Make Sure Your Will (and Estate Plan) is Up to Date

Here are six sure fire ways to make sure your Will is up to date and current. I am often asked how someone can make sure about this. Let's discuss how you can tell if it's time for you to get your Will and estate plan reviewed.

If your Will or estate plan falls into any of the categories below, it is OUT OF DATE and requires immediate attention.

1. You signed your Will in 2009 or earlier.

If your Will or estate plan is from 2009 or earlier, it is out of date and probably obsolete. Many things have changed since 2009, including dramatically different laws and rules concerning estate taxes.

2. You don't have Durable Powers of Attorney than name a HIPAA Personal Representative.

With the introduction of patient privacy laws under HIPAA several years ago, it is vital that your Powers of Attorney comply with these federal rules. Failure to do so could result in many problems for your family and decision makers if you are sick or injured.

3. You have moved to a state different from where your Will was created.

Since the laws vary from state to state, when you move to a new state, it is always advised to have your existing Will and other documents reviewed. This guidance also applies to your titles and beneficiary designations.

4. You have either: gotten married, divorced, had a child or children or had any other significant event in your life

Life brings changes, some good, some not. These changes must be considered to make sure your Will and estate plan remains appropriate for you. If life has brought you a significant event, it's time to get your Will and estate plan reviewed.

5. You have an A-B Trust, or any any other kind of estate plan that mentions the marital deduction and estate tax exemption.

These kind of Wills and estate plans are now obsolete and hazardous to your wealth. If you don't know how the estate tax changes of 2010 impact your plan, and you don't amend your plan accordingly, your family is at risk.

6. You have a fill-in-the-blank form or Will from any internet site.

It is a certainty that your Will or estate plan is out of date and obsolete if you have one of these. Not only are these forms dangerous for your family (See, the several articles below on internet Wills), they are even illegal in some states. If you have these kind of documents, get them reviewed and replaced immediately to protect yourself and family.

There are many other methods we use to determine the soundness of your Will and estate plan. So we don't stop with only these six. These six ways are a good way for you to start and I encourage you to see if any of these apply to you.

Let me know your thoughts and comments and any question is welcome. Thank you for your interest.

Bernie Greenberg

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