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The need to review and update wills

Some Nevada residents make the mistake of simply drafting their wills and never reviewing or updating them afterward. As applicable laws frequently change, it's a good idea to regularly review a written will, making modifications where needed.

When people experience life changes, such as a divorce or the birth of additional children or grandchildren, an update to an existing will may be necessary. Less obvious is the need to review wills in cases in which a testator's children do not have children of their own. It's a good idea to make certain that there are contingent charitable beneficiaries in the event the children predecease the parents.

One consideration is when people want to change the manner in which their estates will be distributed. To do so, an update to the existing will should be undertaken. Another thing to watch out for is the federal estate tax exemption amount, which now excludes the first $5.45 million of estates. This means estates below that amount do not need a bypass trust. As they are expensive to prepare, they should be eliminated if no longer necessary.

Will planning should be a dynamic rather than a static process. Lives and laws change, necessitating a review of documents that have already been written. If they are not updated to reflect the current law or the family situation, the assets may pass in a manner in which the testator did not intend. The family may also miss out on some important tax and other benefits which they could otherwise enjoy. People may want to visit with an estate planning attorney to make certain their will is reflective of the current laws and their family's individual situations.

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