New Year. New Will? – Updating Your Tennessee Estate Plan

You’ve drafted and signed a Tennessee Last Will and Testament! Congratulations! You’re ahead of the game. You’re a planner, and you probably feel a sense of accomplishment having that task behind you. But estate plans are ever-evolving creatures, so don’t just file those documents away and forget about them. Make sure you’re keeping your Tennessee estate documents up to date and accurate!

When is it a good time to update your Tennessee Last Will and Testament?

  1. New Family! Birth, adoption, marriage… Has life brought new family into your life? If so, it may be time to update your will to ensure those family members are included. This could be a result of your own marriage, the birth of your own children, or it could be grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-grandchildren, etc. If you have had a child since your will was last updated, you should speak with an attorney to ensure you have an estate plan that designates a guardian for your minor children. Additionally, if you previously designated a guardian for minor children but your relationship has changed with those individuals, or those individuals are no longer capable of caring for the children, or those individuals have passed away, you need to update your will to ensure your guardianship wishes are accurately reflected.
  2. Relationships Change! You may have listed someone in your will as a beneficiary with whom you no longer have a close relationship. Or, maybe that individual is no longer in need of financial assistance. Have you gone through a divorce? Or has one of your children or grandchildren divorced? Consider whether any individuals need to be removed from your estate plan after major family changes such as divorce or separation.
  3. Children Grow Up. As your children age and become more mature, you may want to revisit whether you want their inheritance to be held in a Tennessee trust. You can certainly direct that trust property be distributed at certain ages, but if your desires have changed as it relates to these distributions, make sure you have a new will prepared.
  4. New Friends! New Priorities! Have you become involved with a new charity that you’d like to donate part of your estate to? Are you passionate about a specific cause that you want to support upon your death? Make sure you include specific provisions directing that your estate support these causes.
  5. Illness. Has your designated executor or trustee become too ill to perform the necessary duties of that job? If so, consider updating your will to provide for a new executor/trustee/guardian, and consider listing an alternate designation while you’re at it!
  6. Changes in Assets. Have you acquired a large asset? Have you sold a large asset? Any change that substantially affects the property you own could be reason to update your will. Reach out to an attorney to discuss how your estate could be affected by a change in your net worth.
  7. Relocation. Have you moved out of state? Contact a local attorney to make sure your will is valid and will be recognized in that state. Individual states establish their own requirements for executing a valid will, so make sure your will complies with the law in your new home state.
  8. Your will has reached senior citizen status. Did you prepare a will years ago? Have you not even looked at your estate plan in three years? Five years? Make sure you pull out your estate plan occasionally to review those documents and ensure they still reflect your desires. If not, or if significant changes have occurred since you first signed those forms, go ahead and talk to an attorney about updating your estate plan.
  9. Business as usual. Have you opened a new business? If so, contact a local estate planning attorney to discuss what will be done with your business and the business assets upon your death.

Is it time to redo your Tennessee will or other Tennessee estate planning documents? Do you not even have a will yet? Contact our office today to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your assets, your family and your goals. Together we can make sure that your property is distributed according to your wishes!

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