Updating a Will

Day to day, things in our lives remain, pretty much, the same. However there are certain life changes that trigger the need to update one’s Will.  Here are a few:

Marriage.  Without a Will, the laws of the State of New Jersey dictate what portion of your property becomes the property of your spouse after you die. You may want to provide your spouse with a different amount of property than what the law provides.  You may want to give more, or you may want to restrict your spouse’s share to less than what he or she would otherwise get under the law.  In order to carry out these wishes, you will need a Will.

A New Child.  After the birth or the adoption of a new child, you will want to make sure your Will designates a Guardian for the child after you pass away. As a parent, you can designate a guardian of the child itself, as well as a guardian of the child’s property. If this is your first child, your existing Will will not have any such provisions for a Guardian. If this is not your first child, you can take this opportunity to reevaluate whether you want to stick with the Guardian you named previously, or whether you feel that someone else would be better for the job. If a Step-Child has entered your life, and if you want them to be a beneficiary of your Estate, you must make provision for that in your Will.

Divorce.  If you had a Will prepared during your marriage, the likelihood is that the will contains bequests or gifts of property to your ex-spouse. Depending on the terms of your divorce, the provisions in the Will favoring your ex-spouse may still be valid even though you are no longer married.  It is important to have a new Will prepared so that you can reallocate your assets, and remove your ex-spouse from the list of beneficiaries. It is also likely that your ex-spouse is the Executor of your Will. By having a new Will prepared, you will also have the opportunity to designate a new Executor. It would also be a good time to make a new Power of Attorney, Living Will or other legal instrument that gives power to your ex-spouse.

Death of a Beneficiary.  If a Beneficiary named in your Will has died, you should change your Will to remove that person’s name.  This will eliminate certain difficulties for your Executor when it is time to administer your Estate.

These are just a few of the events that can trigger a need to revise your Will.

Broscious, Fischer & Zaiter is a multi-service law firm in Washington, NJ, serving clients in Warren, Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, and Sussex Counties in New Jersey and in Hackettstown, NJ, as well as Easton, Allentown, Northampton, Lehigh and many other communities in Eastern Pennsylvania.
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Thomas P. Fischer is a member of The Million Dollar Advocates Forum recognized as the most prestigious group of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements.
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