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The Importance of Updating Your Will – Part 1

A will is something everyone should have, but just as important is to update a will when it is clear that changes are necessary.  No will can be designed to last forever, no matter what happens.  By way of example, we have had two recent cases in our office in which the decedent (person who died) did have a will but it was 20+ years old.

In each case, because the will was so old ,the chosen executors had died.  In the first case the decedent left two children. He didn’t choose either of them as executor at the time he executed his will because they were minors.  Presumably, had he prepared a new will before he died he would have chosen either or both children as executor.  He left his estate equally to both of them so that would have been logical.  But he never did.

In the second case, the decedent chose his two daughters as executor and alternate but both predeceased him.  He had not chosen an alternate and never updated his will to choose a replacement even though his only son in law said his father in law had talked about naming him.

Both wills were validly executed wills that needed to be probated in order to carry out the decedent’s wishes, however, no living executor could apply to be appointed to carry out those wishes, making the probate process more complicated than it needed to be.

Next week I’ll explain why.