We have noted in recent blogs that many estate planning documents are meant to be living documents. In this sense, your will, your power of attorney and any documents requiring that a beneficiary must be named should be updated in the event that a major shift in your life occurs. For example, if the person you designated as your primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy passes away, you will need to update this information. Few estate planning documents are executed and then never touched again.
However, there may be times that it is easier to start over and draft an entirely new document than it is to simply update the one that you currently have drafted. For example, if you have kids and you marry an individual who also has kids, your existing wills may now need a complete overhaul if you plan to leave assets to everyone in your newly blended family.
In addition, if your wealth has grown dramatically in recent years and your list of heirs and beneficiaries must be updated in significant ways, it may be easier to start over with a new will than it would be to update your old one. On the other hand, if you only need to update a name here and an asset there, updating your existing will is likely to be an easier task to undertake.
Whenever you are in doubt about whether to revise or redraft any estate planning documentation, please consult an experienced family law attorney. He or she will have a good sense of the work involved and which option best suits your current situation.