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How regularly updating your will can stop probate issues

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | Estate Planning, Probate

Dealing with probate issues can be overwhelming for executors, heirs and beneficiaries and as the testator, you will not be able to do anything by then. However, you can still do something now to prevent those issues from happening in the future.

Ensuring a smooth process by securing the executor

Many things can happen between the time you created your will and your death, including changes involving your named executor. For one, they may no longer accept the position. In the worst unanticipated scenarios, they may fall ill, incapacitated or pass away.

If you fail to update your will and choose another executor, the probate process may take longer since the court will have to assign a new person to administer your estate. Hence, not only is it essential that you name a competent and trustworthy person as your executor, but you must also ensure that they continue to be available to take on the responsibility.

Preventing will challenges

Will contests are a common issue during probate and an unupdated will may give rise to one. For instance, if you omit an heir, say a spouse or a child, from your will, they may challenge the document’s validity, using intestacy laws to support their claim. Therefore, if you experience changes in your life, such as marriage or the birth of a child, you should update your will to include them as necessary to avoid probate issues later on.

Avoiding late discovery of assets

During the initial probate process, your executor will identify and value all your estate properties, use them to pay your obligations and distribute the rest to your heirs and beneficiaries. If someone finds an unidentified asset after probate closes, the court may have to reopen the proceedings to include them in the distribution, which may cost more time and fees. Hence, you should regularly update your will to include newly acquired properties and remove sold or transferred ones.

While it does not guarantee a dispute-free probate, having an updated will can save your loved ones from stress in many ways.