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Is it time for you to change or update your Florida estate plan?

If you have already taken the time to create an estate plan or a last will, you might think that you no longer have to spend any time, mental energy or money on your legacy and last wishes. Still, life never stops changing, which means you will have to deal with a large number of unexpected experiences.

Changes to your life or your family can mean that it's time to make changes to your last will or estate plan as well. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if a review or modification of your current estate plan is in your best interests.

Have you divorced or gotten remarried?

In many estate plans, the spouse of the testator plays an important role. From assuming financial and medical authority in an emergency that leaves someone incapacitated to inheriting a majority of the assets left behind, spouses often feature prominently in a last will.

If you get divorced, you want to update your will to reflect the change in your marital situation. Removing your ex as beneficiary, as well as naming someone else with the proper authority to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf will protect you and your wishes.

If you have remarried, while it is true that Florida law protects your spouse regardless of your will, it makes sense to revisit and update the will to reflect your new family situation.

Have people in your will died or left your life?

It is sad but true that sometimes children or other people we want to leave something behind for pass on before we do. In that situation, it is important to update your last will to remove any deceased beneficiaries, administrators or heirs.

Drastic inaccuracies such as the inclusion of deceased family members in the terms of your will may make it easier for other people to challenge your wishes. The more accurate your will, the better it will hold up under scrutiny in court.

Have you acquired new assets or dependents?

Maybe you created the last will while you and your spouse had small children. Now, you're getting ready to retire, and the assets you own are substantially different than they were earlier in life. In addition to your family home, perhaps you now own a vacation home and some recreational vehicles.

Any assets of value, particularly those with emotional value for your family, need thorough consideration in your estate plan. Otherwise, the lack of direction about specific valuable assets could leave people squabbling.

Similarly, you want to update your last will to reflect new additions to your family, such as children or grandchildren. Adding them sooner rather than later will ensure that they receive a share of your estate regardless of what the future holds for you.

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