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The benefits of updating a person's will

Preparing an estate plan is seen by many as a necessity. But for some people, estate planning can be very difficult to contemplate because it can lead to thoughts of the person's existence and ultimate passing on. The tasks and assets involved can also become arduous and complicated.

Residents of Chester, Pennsylvania, who have spoken with a legal professional specializing in estate planning, understand that there are benefits to regularly updating wills and trusts. A legal professional who can act on behalf of the principal as trustee, executor and fiduciary will emphasize the importance of doing so to ensure that the estate is properly managed.

A will is one of those estate planning documents that requires constant and regular updating because situations and circumstances are always changing. Changes in the family, assets, location and personal circumstances should be reflected in the revised will.

There is also the issue of ever shifting tax laws. Since state laws are constantly changing and the federal laws are also periodically revised to include taxable exemptions, it is important that wills be modified in accordance with new laws.

In addition to a will, there are also other tools available for estate planning. A trust is one of the most effective strategies because it protects assets and ensures their smooth transfer to loved ones. Those with a more complicated estate greatly benefit because a trust offers a greater degree of flexibility than a will and it avoids the probate process that a will is required to go through. It also takes effect while the principal is still alive, unlike a will.

Health care and financial powers of attorney are other tools that require periodic updating. Using them allows a principal to name a trusted individual to make medical and financial decisions if the principal is incapacitated.

Keeping wills and other estate planning documents up to date may seem tedious, but it is important to do so. If the worst happens, it can make all the difference.

Source:, "Updating Your Will: A Small Step That Goes A Long Way," Lewis Saret, May 22, 2013

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