Many people in Tennessee and elsewhere prefer to avoid discussions about their own mortality. Those who come around to realizing the importance of estate planning may take steps to execute a plan, then push it to the back of their mind, not wanting to address the issue further. However, this can be a big mistake, especially if an estate owner fails to update his or her plan when there is a need to do so and passes away before changing his or her will.
Periodic reviews and updates help loved ones avoid legal problems
Estate planning, and, in particular, a last will and testament, is not something to be undertaken and then forgotten. On the contrary, once a person has executed an estate plan, it is best to periodically review the plan to check if any deletions, changes or updates are needed. The following list shows some of the most common issues that prompt a need to update a will:
- Birth of a child
- Marriage or divorce
- Change of a designated representative, such as a child guardian or a trustee
- Substantial increase or decrease in the value of the estate
- Minor children reach adult age
Complications can arise if an estate owner passes away without updating a will. For instance, if he or she had obtained a divorce and remarried but never changed the name of the primary beneficiary to the new spouse’s name, it might spark probate litigation when the time comes to administer the estate. If a parent wants to change the legal guardian for his or her children but never updates a will to reflect that desire, the instructions written in the original document would stand.
Understand Tennessee estate planning laws before signing a document
Every state has its own estate planning guidelines. Something all states have in common is that a person must be of sound mind when signing documents in an estate plan. In fact, if a loved one believes that a parent or other benefactor was not of sound mind when he or she executed a last will and testament, the validity of the documents may be challenged in court.