Naperville Estate Planning Attorney Offers Five Ways Your Will Can Become Obsolete

As you probably realize, a will often provides the foundation for a comprehensive estate plan. In some cases, a person’s will is the only instrument used to transfer his or her assets to heirs and beneficiaries. This is not uncommon, particularly among individuals with modest estates and few complex holdings.

In my practice as an estate planning lawyer, I have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of clients draft and execute wills. I have also worked with many individuals in updating wills that have become outdated or obsolete. While a will does not have a specific expiration date, there are a few things that can happen that may leave your will in need of an update or overhaul, including:

1. Your Executor Dies or Becomes Incapacitated

The executor of your estate has many responsibilities. He or she is in charge of compiling your assets, paying off your outstanding debts, filing your final tax returns, and presenting your will for probate, among other duties. If he or she were to die or become unable to fulfill the role, you will need someone else to step in and do so. If you do not name a new executor, one will be appointed by the court, and it may not be a person that you or your family would prefer.

2. Your Heirs Die

It is possible to have a valid will with no surviving beneficiaries, but such a will loses its power to transfer your assets. For example, if you do not have children and your will directs the entirety of your estate to your spouse, what will happen if your spouse dies before you? Your estate would be divided in accordance with the intestacy laws of Illinois, just as if you had died without creating a will.

3. New Heirs Enter the Picture

If you get married or have a child but do not amend your will to reflect your new reality, complications could arise down the road. You may also wish to update your will when your children marry or when grandchildren are born. Doing so will give more specific control over who will receive what after your death.

4. Your Property Holdings Change

Consider a situation in which you own a small business. Your will may grant full ownership of your company to one beneficiary and ownership of your paid-off home to another. If you decide to sell your business, the heir who should have received it may be left with nothing. It is up to you to restore equitability to your will if you choose to do so.

5. Changes to the Law

The law is always changing, with new measures being introduced and voted on all the time. If your will was created as part of an estate plan designed to take advantage of certain tax considerations, you may need a new plan if the law regarding such taxes changes.

Let Us Help

If you have concerns about keeping your will up to date, contact an experienced Naperville estate planning attorney. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm Today. We will answer your questions and work closely with you in creating an estate plan that offers your family security and peace of mind.


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