Estate planning attorneys are very fond of telling you that you need to regularly update your estate plan, especially after something important in your life changes. Some people choose to believe that attorneys just say this because they want repeat business and updating your estate plan provides that. However, the truth is that the attorneys’ pocketbooks are often better off when people do not update their estate plans. There is more money in that for attorneys.
Consider what is happening to Sir Peter Ustinov’s estate. He passed away 9 years ago as a multi-millionaire. He had a Will that was unfortunately written in 1968 and never updated. In the meantime he got remarried without updating his estate plan. Swiss courts ruled that his Will was too old and invalidated by the subsequent marriage. His children from a previous marriage and his wife have been fighting over the money ever since. The problem is that they have spent so much of the estate’s money hiring lawyers to fight that many believe there is no money left to fight over.
Visiting an estate planning attorney every few years to update your estate plan is certainly far less expensive for your estate than fighting for 9 years in court. Take a lesson from Sir Peter Ustinov and make sure that you keep your estate plan up to date. Not doing so, could cost your family a fortune.
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