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Is it time to update your New Jersey will and estate plan?

Most New Jersey residents don't like to think about making out their will. Some may feel like it is tempting fate to sit down and decide what should happen to your assets and your family after death. The truth, though, is that it may be tempting fate to avoid this important part of life. In doing so, it is important to keep in mind that estate planning, like life, is a fluid concept -- as your life changes, so should your will and estate plan.

Anytime there is a birth, death, marriage or divorce in a family, a review of your will and other estate planning documents is in order. Too many people sign a will, assign beneficiaries to things like life insurance policies, maybe do a living will, and then forget about it. Life is rarely the same at the end as it was in the beginning. Some people may change their insurance policies, but not their will, or vice versa. This can cause problems for your heirs and beneficiaries after your death.

It's not only the people who may come and go in our lives that require a review of your will and estate planning documents. The financial climate, whether it pertains to taxes, financial gains, financial losses, or the like, may require you to change your will. A change in the federal or New Jersey estate laws could spark a review. Owning a business can prompt unique issues that may not have been covered in your original will, whether the situation is that you acquired a business or are no longer a part of a business. These are only some of the situations that may require a change in your will and estate planning documents.

The situation doesn't have to be a dramatic change to prompt a review of your estate planning documents. Buying a new house may be enough to require a change in your will. Being prepared and getting the proper advice on how to protect both your assets and your family in the event of your death may not be a conversation you just can't wait to have, but it is an important one.

Source: Forbes.com, "When Should You Redo Your Will?" Deborah L. Jacobs, Aug. 9, 2012

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