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Review is an important part of estate planning

Many Massachusetts residents have executed the necessary documentation to provide for their families after they pass away. They might believe that their job is done once the documents are signed. However, estate planning that is done at a particular time in a person's life might need to be modified as the years pass and circumstances change.

Certain events in a person's life might change how they feel about the estate plan. Getting married, divorced or having children or grandchildren could make a person want to rethink how the plan currently reads. In some cases, an individual who is supposed to receive an inheritance dies. As a person ages, his or her wealth could also increase or decrease necessitating a change in how it will be distributed.

Life events do not only affect to who wealth will be distributed. The people who were chosen to serve as executors, trustees and agents in powers of attorney could need to be replaced for a variety of reasons. Either the individual no longer wants to serve in one of these capacities or the person who made the plan no longer wants that person to serve. In either case, a change could be needed.

Massachusetts residents need to review their estate planning documents when a major life event occurs, but that is not the only time a review is needed. The plan needs to be pulled out periodically in order to ensure that it still accurately expresses an individual's wishes. Making changes from time to time does not only provide the creator of the plan with peace of mind. Family members could be required to spend additional -- and possibly preventable -- time and money in court if the plan that is not accurate and/or current with the family's dynamic at the time of death.

Source: poconorecord.com, "Updating your estate plan: When to review it and what you should review", Glen Harding, Sept. 7, 2016

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