Avoiding estate litigation through plan revision

It is easy to think of an estate plan as a one-time document that, once drafted, can be safely set aside until it is needed. However, British Columbia residents may already know this is not the case. Many estate litigation professionals recommend updating an estate plan periodically, and definitely if major life changes have taken place. The following are examples of some of these life changes. 

It may seem obvious, but divorce is often at the top of this list. When a divorce goes through, it is easy to forget to update beneficiaries of retirement and savings plans during the rush to determine who gets the car or the family home. However, such savings are also considered assets and should be addressed in the divorce settlement to avoid possible litigation months or years in the future. 

This is particularly true in cases where one or both divorced spouses gets remarried. Obviously this could have sweeping effects on where an estate owner might want his or hers bequeathed, especially if step-children or children from the new marriage become a factor. Working with an estate planning attorney as part of a divorce process and even before the divorce is initiated can help to safeguard the estate against future litigation. 

Estate litigation is not something most people would wish on themselves or their loved ones. Some British Columba residents already know it can be a long, drawn-out process. By seeking the support of estate attorneys in advance, and by regularly updating a plan with their assistance, such litigation may be avoided altogether. 

Source: Forbes, "6 Reasons To Revise Your Estate Plan As Soon As Possible", Mark Eghrari, Jan. 2, 2017

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Lunny Atmore

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