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Keeping your Will up-to-date is just as important as having a Will. Consider updating your Will for the following reasons.
• Marriage. You recently married, or a marriage ended since you made out a reciprocal (joint) Will. Your Will may be revoked upon marriage, unless it specifically states it was created in contemplation of marriage.
• A change of executor, lawyer, accountant, or guardian. If one of these key players die, or becomes incapacitated, or is replaced regarding your estate plan.
• You want to establish planned giving. You desire to leave monies, for example, to a charity, an art gallery, a religious organization, or a school.
• Birth of children and grandchildren. You want to ensure that they are provided for, perhaps through life insurance.
• Divorce. If your Will has previously named a ex-spouse as executor, this appointment is nullified upon divorce.
• Separation. If you die before a divorce becomes final, your spouse may retain access to your estate assets.
• Change in wealth. If you inherit money, or inherit life insurance proceeds, or your assets decline, consider altering your bequests.
• Special care is needed. A spouse, parent, or child has become disabled and needs future care.
• Change in health. If you anticipate requiring costly long-term health care, you may want to alter the specific bequests in your Will to reflect this new reality.
• Death of executor or beneficiary. Appoint a new executor or revoke a previous beneficiary directive or review your beneficiary designations.
• Sale of business. If your assets become more liquid upon the sale of a business, you may want to pass that benefit along to beneficiaries or charities. If a partner has bought or is buying your business previously bequeathed in your Will you may need to adjust your estate planning.
• When you want to change your trustee, or trust institution. You want to assign others to be in charge of investments within a testamentary trust directive.
• Legislation changes. Federal or provincial budgets have changed legislation affecting your estate planning. The validity of your Will may be affected by changes to laws.
• Taxation of the capital gains on a major asset. When you own an asset that has appreciated in value, such as a cottage or business, make sure the tax payable, will not decimate the estate. Life insurance solutions to pay off your estate liabilities after death, may be a more affordable option.
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