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Friday, September 20, 2019

When Updating Your Will Is Advisable

Q: Why would I need to revise my will?

Nobody likes to think about death or face their own mortality. For that reason, people often delay consulting a skilled New York or New Jersey estate planning attorney to have a comprehensive estate plan prepared. When they finally do it, they may consider the task done forever. 

What they don’t realize, is that virtually everyone can benefit from a periodic review with their estate planning attorney to see if any changes in the law or changes in their personal circumstances warrant a modification of their estate plan. 

Why You May Need to Revise Your Estate Plan

These are some of the reasons why people may need to modify their existing estate plan.

Having Children

One of the most important documents a parent can have is a last will and testament that designates the legal guardian(s), and successor guardian(s) they want to raise their minor children should they die before the children reach the age of majority. Trustees responsible for managing funds and financial decisions for the children should also be designated. They may or may not be the same people chosen as legal guardians. 

In addition, having a special needs child often calls for special estate planning devices like special needs trusts, which help provide for the child or adult while not jeopardizing any government benefits they may be entitled to. 

Marriage or Divorce

Marriage or divorce. Very often, married couples, especially first-timers, leave everything to each other and then the surviving spouse provides for the children. After a divorce, it’s important to revise an existing estate plan if you’d like to disinherit a former spouse. It’s also advisable to see an estate planning attorney before a second marriage, especially where there are children from a prior marriage. 

Increased Wealth

Financial blessings might also make modifying an estate plan advisable. State laws differ and tax laws change, so keeping up on how your assets and holdings are impacted by current tax laws and making any necessary adjustments, can save your beneficiaries bundles in taxes. 

Medicaid Planning

If the cost of long-term care in a nursing home keeps you awake at night, an estate planning attorney can help ease your fears through Medicaid planning. While this might not have been an issue when you made your first estate plan in your 20s or 30s, it becomes important in later years. Many people erroneously believe they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. A skilled Medicaid planning attorney can often use available estate planning tools to shift income and assets so couples or individuals may qualify for Medicaid if the need arises. 

Contact Our New York or New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you need help assistance with an initial estate plan or with the modification of an existing one, the estate planning attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

From our offices in Staten Island, New York, and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent clients in both states in all aspects of estate planning and estate administration.



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