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Is it time to update your will?

Under Minnesota law, a person is not required to have a will. However, a will can be a useful item that maps out how a deceased person's estate will be divided up, and can help insure each person receives the correct inheritance. Whether a person is in their 20s or 80s, it's never too early or too late to create a will. After a will is made, there can be many reasons a person might choose to update it.

The passing of time may be a good enough reason to update a will. If it has been a few years since it was last updated, chances are something may have changed. A person might update a will if there is a change in marital status, someone in the family dies, or a grandchild or child is born. A person should also update his or her will if their personal representative passes away or moves to a new location. Monetary changes may also prompt a person to make an update to a will, such as a change in tax laws or a significant change in the value of a person's property. Moving to a new state is also a good reason to update a will.

In order to make changes to an existing will, a person must add a codicil, or amendment, to the will. Much like the process of creating the original will, witnesses must be present for the writing and signing of the update. Those who wish to update their wills should not simply cross out language and write in the new updates, as this may raise questions about how much of the will the person is revoking.

In the unfortunate event of a person's passing, it's important that the deceased's loved ones receive what was intended for them. Regularly updating a will can ensure that a person's assets are distributed to the correct family members and friends.

Source: The Office of Attorney General Lori Swanson, "Probate and Planning," accessed on Sept. 15, 2014

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Mason & Helmers
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