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When should a will be modified?

Planning and preparing for the future is often considered a must. Most Ohio residents have a general concept of estate planning. To many of them, a will is enough to satisfy their needs. However, even the most basic of wills needs to be carefully drafted to ensure that there are no mistakes or ambiguities that could lead to the distribution of an estate that is counter to one's wishes. Yet, while care must be taken during the initial drafting process, it must also be applied when updating an estate plan. This includes modifying or changing a will.

There are many life changes that may justify changing a will. For example, if an individual remarries, then he or she may want to consider changing his or her will to reflect how he or she wants his or her assets to be distributed upon death. This is because most assets, if not all, pass to a spouse upon death. Therefore, if an individual wants to reserve an estate for children from another marriage, then he or she will need to reflect that in a modified will. Other changes that may warrant changes to a will are the birth of a child, the acquirement of step children, divorce, the obtainment of new assets and simply a changed mind regarding beneficiaries.

While a will may be modified in writing by what is called a codicil, this typically is not the best way to do so as it can lead to confusion and discrepancies about how an estate should be distributed. Therefore, it is usually advisable to revoke an existing will and create a new one.

This is a process that a qualified legal professional can assist with in order to avoid unwanted mistakes. An attorney skilled in estate planning will know how to carefully create pertinent estate planning documents that thoroughly address an estate's needs, thereby putting individuals' minds at ease with regard to the future of their estate.

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