The Only Thing Worse Than Not Updating Your Will Is Not Updating The Beneficiaries Of Your Non-Probate Assets
‘Tis the season when adults who plan to spend the holidays together make noises about not wanting to exchange gifts but end up doing it, anyway. In an effort to avoid gifts that will just end up as clutter in the recipients’ houses, you endeavor to buy your siblings practical gifts. It was mighty thoughtful of your sister to buy you a personal nose hair trimmer and your brother to buy you a hurricane supply box that looks like a stylish toolbox when your hurricane supplies (mostly batteries, matches, and duct tape, as every Floridian knows) are doing just fine in an old Amazon box. More practical a gift than even the most innocuous stocking stuffer is giving your family the peace of mind that whichever of them is the personal representative of your estate will not have to deal with a family feud or a will whose instructions are impossible to implement. In other words, getting your act together about your estate plan is the gift that keeps on giving. You should review your estate plan with a Tampa estate planning lawyer and make any necessary updates.
The Trouble With Out-of-Date Estate Plans
Perhaps, years ago, you motivated yourself to get to work on your estate plan by reminding yourself that any estate plan is better than not having one at all. After writing a will and meeting with an estate planning lawyer, who explained to you just how much your estate would need to pay in taxes before the beneficiaries of your estate inherited anything, you even set up some non-probate assets.
You are off to a good start, but the trouble is that even the most carefully thought out estate plans require revision. For example, if you wrote your will many years ago, the person you named as the person representative of your estate may no longer be a good candidate for the job. For example, maybe the person you originally chose as personal representative has passed away or is no longer healthy enough to fulfill the duties of a personal representative, or maybe the person has had a falling out with one or more of the beneficiaries listed in your will. If any of these things have happened, you will need to choose another personal representative.
Non-probate assets required revision, too. If you listed your spouse as a payable-on-death beneficiary of a bank account, but then you got divorced and remarried, your ex-spouse automatically gets the money from that account when you die. Even claiming an elective share will not enable your new spouse to claim that account. The only way to fix it is to change the payable-on-death beneficiary while you are alive.
Contact an Attorney for Help
An estate planning lawyer can help you fix aspects of your estate plan that are out of date and bring your estate plan into accordance with your current reality. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.