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Reviewing and Updating Your Will

Benoff Law Firm Jan. 30, 2024

Old man with attorney reviewing willA will is not a static document but a dynamic one that should evolve with your life's twists and turns, such as a marriage, the birth of a child, or a significant financial windfall. It may seem daunting, but the process of reviewing and updating your will is simpler than you might think.

At Benoff Law Firm, we understand that life is a journey and circumstances change, and so do your needs and priorities. We are here to help you write, review, update, and understand your will so that you can make sure that your assets and property are protected.

If you are in Trevose, Pennsylvania, or surrounding areas—including Northeast Philadelphia, Southhampton, Philadelphia, Bucks County, and Montgomery County—reach out to us today for guidance. 

Updating Your Will

You've probably heard the saying, "The only constant in life is change." It's recommended to review your will regularly, ideally on an annual basis, to ensure it continues to reflect your wishes accurately. With changes in law and shifts in your life circumstances, updating your will can help you remain in control of your legacy. 

The importance of working with an attorney during this process cannot be overstated. At Benoff Law Firm, we provide comprehensive legal guidance to help you navigate the complexities of estate planning and ensure your will is legally sound and accurate. 

When to Update Your Will

There are numerous instances when updating your will becomes necessary. Here are some key situations: 

  • Marrying or divorcing: These significant life events often bring about changes in how you'd like your assets distributed or who you want to make health decisions on your behalf. 

  • Gaining or losing assets: If you've recently acquired or lost significant assets, it's crucial to update your will accordingly. 

  • Adding or losing family members: The birth of a child or grandchild, or sadly, the death of a loved one might necessitate changes to your will. 

  • Changing guardians, witnesses, beneficiaries, or executors: As relationships evolve, you may need to update these key roles within your will. 

Whether it's a change in marital status, financial circumstances, or the composition of your family, it's crucial to ensure your will accurately reflects your current situation and wishes.  

Making a Change (Codicil) vs. Drafting a New Will

A Codicil and a completely new will are two distinct ways to make changes to your current will.  

A Codicil is essentially a legal document that modifies specific provisions of your existing will without the necessity to draft a new one. It's particularly useful for minor updates, such as adding a new asset or modifying a beneficiary. 

On the other hand, drafting a new will is a more comprehensive approach, essentially making a fresh start. This typically becomes necessary when significant changes occur, like marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child. It's also advisable to draft a new will when the current one becomes dense with a multitude of codicils to avoid potential confusion or contradictions. 

Whether you're considering a Codicil or drafting a new will, it's always beneficial to seek expert legal advice, ensuring your will effectively communicates your wishes and adheres to all legal standards. 

FAQs About Reviewing and Updating Your Will

Q1: How often should I review my will if there are no significant life changes? 

Even if there are no significant life changes, you should still review your will annually. If that is not possible, you could at least review it every three to five years. This ensures you consider any changes in legislation or tax law that could impact your estate. 

Q2: Can I change my will by myself? 

While it is legally possible to make changes to your will by yourself, it is not recommended. A legal professional can ensure your changes are valid and legally sound while lining up with your intentions. 

Q3: If I move to a different state, do I need to update my will? 

Yes, it is advisable to update your will when moving to a different state. Different states have different laws regarding wills and estates, and your will should reflect the laws of your current residence. 

Q4: What happens if I don't update my will after a divorce? 

Depending on your location, the effect of a divorce on your will can vary. In some states, a divorce may automatically invalidate provisions pertaining to your ex-spouse. However, to avoid any confusion, it is always advisable to update your will after a divorce. 

Q5: Can changes to my will be contested? 

Yes, wills and any changes made to them can be contested. However, if your will is properly drafted and updated with the help of legal professionals, the chances of a successful contest are significantly reduced. 

Why Choose Benoff Law Firm?

The importance of reviewing and updating your will cannot be overstated. It's an essential part of maintaining control over your assets and ensuring your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes. At Benoff Law Firm, we're committed to providing tailored strategies and skillful legal guidance. With our deep understanding of the local legal landscape in Trevose, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas, we're confident in our ability to assist you. 

If you're looking to update your will or have any concerns about estate planning, don't hesitate to reach out to us. With Edward and Bart Benoff at your service, you can rest assured that your legal matters are in capable hands. Contact us today—we're ready to help.