Livens & Reed, PLLC

Estate planning requires regular updating of the basic documents

Wills and living trusts should be updated to reflect changes in one's life as those events occur. When the person marries, or one's spouse dies, or when there is a divorce, such events create the need to revisit one's estate planning documents to make revisions. For example, if there is a divorce but the person who made a will during the marriage forgets to go back and revise it, the divorced spouse could potentially have a continuing interest in the maker's estate under Texas law and the law of other states.

In most instances, that last scenario is the opposite of what the maker of the will wanted to see happen. Therefore, it is best to always make sure one has a good, updated set of estate planning documents in effect whenever a major life change occurs. A few other life changes that require such action are birth of a child, marriage, sale of a business, death of a child, and moving to another state.

It is always particularly important to make sure that beneficiaries on all life insurance, retirement and investment accounts are updated. The beneficiary listed on these accounts will inherit the corresponding account proceeds over any persons listed in the will. It can be a disastrous result for the wrong beneficiary to remain  on one's life insurance policies, for example, when in fact there are younger and needier beneficiaries that the decedent would have greatly preferred.

These are just a ideas that give food for thought for those residents of Texas who may need to review, or even start up, their estate plan. The only safe way to approach one's estate plan is to keep it updated and pertinent through regular contact with the estate planning attorney who is handling the process. A regular pattern of communications with the estate planning attorney will assure the individual or married couple that everything that must be done is in fact being accomplished in an accurate and professional manner.

Source:, "11 Life Events That Tell You It's Time to Get a Will", Pamela Buskirk, Feb. 3, 2016

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