Life changes call for will and testament changes

People in California know how important it is to have a will. Not only does a person's will provide him or her with the ability to express final earthy sentiments and provide comfort and closure to loved ones, it has powerful legal and financial implications that will impact the world long after the person is gone. But on the other hand, dying or becoming incapacitated without a will can be a legal and practical nightmare, as the disposition of a person's personal property and assets is essentially left to up to the court system, which will blindly and systematically dictate who receives what without any consideration for what the deceased would have wanted.

In a cruel twist of fate, the people who have to deal with this nightmare are usually the people closest to the deceased. Not only that, but whatever wealth the deceased has left may be subject to tremendous administration fees and estate taxes. For this reason, everyone, regardless of how much money they have, needs a will.

Making a will is important, but updating the terms of the will can be equally important. For example, a person who divorces his or her spouse also probably intends to prevent them from inheriting their assets in the event of his or her death. In California, this is done automatically when a person finalizes their divorce. But what becomes of the money intended for the spouse? Essentially, the end result is the same as if a person died without a will, as well as all of the headaches that come with it.

With the help of an experienced estates and trusts attorney, people can craft a will that provides for just about every scenario imaginable, including a back-up plan in case certain events come to fruition. But it is always a good idea to revisit the will, and the overall estate plan, upon the occurrence of any major life event. This could include, to name a few, the birth of a new child or grandchild, the accumulation of significant property and, of course, a divorce.

Source: Huffington Post "Financial Tips That Ease the Sting of Divorce," Julian Block, Dec. 25, 2013

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