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When Should I Update My Will in Alaska?

Posted by Caitlin Shortell | Dec 26, 2022 | 0 Comments

Once they make a will, many people will put it in a safe deposit box or leave a copy with their attorney, and forget about it. However, there are many reasons to review and update your will and other estate planning documents. Below is a checklist of events that may prompt you to do so:

  • The individuals you have named as beneficiaries are deceased.
  • New people need to be named as beneficiaries in your will (for example, new relatives are born or adopted.
  • Divorce of marriage.
  • New state laws. You need to periodically check to see whether your state has enacted new laws that impact your estate planning documents. More importantly, if you move to a different state, don't assume that your will made in your previous state conforms to the requirements of your new state. Each state has its own legal requirements for making a will.
  • State compliance with federal protections for your marriage.  For instance, the State of Alaska unlawfully enforced its same-sex marriage ban for several years after that ban was enjoined in 2014.  In Smith v. Dunleavy, Shortell Law LLC obtained benefits that were denied to same-sex spouses.  However, an up-to-date will can provide an additional level of protection for people in same-sex and interracial marriage, which have been threatened by the Supreme Court
  • Change in guardians, personal representatives, or trustees.
  • Children reach the age of 18.
  • There is a substantial increase of decrease in the value of your estate.
  • The acquisition of disposition of a significant asset (e.g. property, real estate, art work, etc).
  • You should see an attorney about reviewing and updating your estate plans prior to reaching 70 ½ years of age if you have an IRA, 401(k), or other qualified plan that requires you to begin to take distributions at age 70 ½. The beneficiary that you designated will have an irrevocable impact on both you and your beneficiary's required distributions.
  • The passage of time is reason enough. You should review your will and estate planning documents every three to five years.

Shortell Law LLC can help you with the creation of a will or answer any questions you might have about your estate planning strategy.  For more information on estate planning or last will and testaments, contact Shortell Law LLC online at any time.

About the Author

Caitlin Shortell

Attorney Caitlin Shortell is a 2023 Super Lawyer in Labor and Employment, a National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Civil Plaintiff's Lawyer in Alaska, and a 2023 YWCA Women of Achievement. 


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