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Outdated wills can end in estate litigation

Most people know that it is a good idea to draft a legal will. Done correctly, documenting one's wishes for after he or she passes is an ongoing process that typically requires regular updates. Outdated estate plans that do not take into account new wealth, family relations, debt and other issues can lead to serious conflicts for Ontario families and executors. Annual review and updates at key points throughout life can help to prevent these issues.

In short, a will should be reviewed any time there is a change in assets or family status. An asset change could include a large purchase, such as a house or vehicle, or a significant change in debt status. For business owners, wills should also be reviewed at the launch or close of a business as well as during its growth. 

Family status changes can be a bit more complicated than just reviewing who should get what assets. If a child is born, plans for his or her care should something happen to both parents is a central conversation. In a divorce, second marriage or family blending, conversations about who deserves certain assets in the estate can become heated. When people neglect to change their wills at these important life changes, they risk having an outdated will that no longer accurately determines who gets the remaining wealth.

Experts recommend reviewing wills each year, even if these major changes do not occur. These regular overviews can still raise issues that need adjusting, such as reconsidering the executor or adding an important digital password. Executors who are dealing with outdated wills or individuals who need to update their documents can work with Ontario lawyers to better understand the legal standards around estate planning in the province.

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