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The Importance of Having an Updated Last Will and Testament

July 12, 2022

It is very important that your Will be current and that you thoroughly evaluate all related issues pertaining to your assets, etc. and make sure those details are included in the Will.  I am handling many matters now where there are Will contests and where unforeseen problems arise pertaining to the Testator's assets.

First of all, it is crucially important that you prepare a Last Will and Testament with the assistance of an Attorney.  The Attorney can review all aspects of the process and the document with you and the Attorney can ensure that the format of the document is such that it will be accepted by the local County Surrogate Court and that it will be less likely be open to attack by others. 

Many people prepare a simple Last Will and Testament but do not properly analyze their assets and how their assets are held.  Is an asset jointly held with another?  Does an asset have a named beneficiary set forth , therein?  Are there any liens/encumbrances against an asset which need to be addressed?  These are all extremely important when preparing your Last Will and Testament, because some of these facts can negate your whole purpose and intent.

Most of the Wills that I have been preparing lately are for clients advancing in age.  It is strongly recommended that everyone revisit and reevaluate their Will every five years because there are life changes.  Obviously for younger clients, the Will must carefully and thoroughly set forth the intentions of the individual regarding their children and related guardianship and trustee concerns.

By addressing the above concerns, you are not only ensuring that your wishes and intent will be properly carried out, but you are protecting your survivors from tremendous and expensive legal entanglements in order to clear up problematic issues.

If you, or a loved one, are considering updating your Will, I suggest that you make a thorough list of every asset that you own, or partially own and pay close attention to the names on the asset and form of ownership so that the dictates of the Will are not negated by the title to the asset.

I am readily available to meet with you to discuss the above issues, answer any questions that you may have, and evaluate your current Will to make sure that the same is functional and accurate.  I am licensed in the State of New Jersey and the State of New York.  Please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment.