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What happens if your will is out of date?

If you live in Texas and already have an estate plan or you are creating one, you might wonder whether your will goes out of date at some point in the future. The good news is that wills do not have an “expiration date.” The bad news is that for other reasons, an outdated will can be as bad or even worse as having no will at all.

What a will does

In your will, you usually appoint an executor and name beneficiaries who will receive your assets. You might also appoint guardians for your minor children in the will. The problem with an old will is that since you created it, some or all of these things might have changed.

Changes in your life

Your executor, beneficiaries or the guardians you have named might die, or you could decide for some reason that they are no longer appropriate for that particular role. Another issue that could arise is that your family could change. For example, you might divorce, remarry and have more children.

The importance of updating

You can include provisions in your will in case executors, beneficiaries or guardians die or are unable to take on the responsibilities you have assigned them. However, it is also a good idea to periodically review your will and all of your estate planning documents.

If your will cannot be executed because the executors and beneficiaries have died and there is no backup plan, the state will determine what happens to your assets, which is the same thing that would happen if you had no will at all. If you have changed your mind about who you want to receive certain assets but you did not get around to updating your will, your family could end up in litigation, and your assets may not be distributed as you would have wanted.

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