The recent publicity surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith serves as a valuable reminder about the importance of reexamining your estate planning documents on a periodic basis. News reports indicate that although Ms. Smith had a will, it did not make provisions for her only surviving child. The will was executed before the child was born and, therefore, made no reference to her. Neither did it include language addressing children born after the will was executed.
Because modern life is typified by constant change, estate planning documents that were appropriate at one stage of your life may be inappropriate at a later date. Having children, moving, or experiencing other changes are some of the reasons people may want to reexamine their estate plans. People sometimes lose touch with persons named as executors or guardians under their will, making them poor choices. Simply stated, it is advisable to look at your estate planning documents to see whether they accurately express your wishes. Often, only minor changes are needed to update the documents.
It is a good idea to contact your lawyer at least once every five years to discuss your estate plan. In addition to discussing changes in your life, your lawyer can also advise you about new or revised laws and ideas about updating and improving your estate planning documents. Reviewing your estate plan on a period basis ensures that your estate planning documents accurately reflect your intentions.
Marilyn Maag is a member of the Strauss & Troy Estate Planning Department and regularly practices in the areas of estate planning and probate law. For more information on estate planning, please feel free to call Ms. Maag at 513-621-2120.