Is Your Will Up to Date?

John Kazary, Esq., CTFA, Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor, Univest Bank and Trust Co.

You probably get regular maintenance on your car, have routine checkups with your doctor and maybe even do a yearly spring cleaning of your home. But how often do you review your will? Even if you don't have a lot of assets, a will can be an important estate planning tool for ensuring your loved ones are provided for as you wish. But for your will to do its job, it needs to be periodically reviewed and kept up-to-date.

Certainly, a birth in the family, the death of a beneficiary, relocation to another state, divorce and changes in tax law should prompt you to reexamine your will. Additionally, it is recommended that you write a new will about every 10 years so that it conforms to modern legal guidelines and reduces the suspicion that there may be other, more recent wills.

Your review should start with the named heirs. First, you should clean up your will by eliminating deceased heirs. Secondly, look for any changes that should be made as a result of marriage, divorce, estrangement, reconciliation, legal problems and financial difficulties. While you are at it, take a look at the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies and make sure the people you have named are the people you want to inherit the money.

Next, you should review your selection of executor. The proper choice of executor could be the difference between an estate settlement that is chaotic with family bitterness, and an estate settlement that flows smoothly and brings your family together. The executor has a complex, time-consuming job. The person you choose must have the time, personal integrity, diligence and competence to get the job done correctly and in a timely manner. Many people choose to have this complex work done by the experienced trust professionals at their local bank.

This may also be the time to review your entire estate plan. Would your estate plan benefit from the flexibility, control, privacy and protection of wealth offered by a revocable living trust? Call one of Univest's trust professionals to get more information about trusts and how they can fit into your overall estate plan. Contact us at 215-799-2959 or

Please note that neither this financial institution nor any of its affiliates give tax or legal advice. Consult a qualified tax advisor regarding your individual circumstances.

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