Every day we deal with products and services with expiration dates. Coupons expire. Medications outlive the printed “Use By” date on the box. And of course food either outlives the expiration date on the packaging or grows multi-colored fuzz that lets the world know it is no longer fit to consume.
But what about a Last Will and Testament? Does a will expire? Does a will have a “Use By” date? The short answer is no, a will doesn’t expire. However, a will can easily become irrelevant over time if it is not maintained. The testator’s (the person who is making the will) plans may make sense today but may no longer apply sometime in the future.
For example, what if the testator created a provision in his will where his children were to receive his 20,000 shares of stock, but by the time he died he had long since sold those stock and used the money to buy a Ferrari? What do his children get? Or what if the will states “To my beloved wife, Sue the mother of my three children, I leave the farm in Hill County, which I inherited from my sainted mother” except the testator had divorced Sue twenty years before and had remarried to Mary with whom he had two children before he died? What does Mary get?
In the above examples it is clear to see that the will has, in some ways, expired even though it is technically still a valid will. The examples above may seem far-fetched what with a Ferrari and all, but the serious consequences of an “expired” or irrelevant will can be devastating. Imagine leaving your surviving spouse a home he or she cannot afford to keep because your other assets were allocated to other people or entities during your life but your will was not updated to correct for the changes in the estate.
A person prudent enough to have a will should be savvy enough to keep the will updated. Anytime a testator has a birth or death in the family, divorces, remarries, buys a home, sells a home, buys any tangible property or sells any, or has any other life event that could affect the will, then he or she should consult with an attorney to make sure the his or will is updated to reflect the new facts. If you have a will from years ago, dust it off and review it. If it no longer reflects your wishes, seek counsel from an attorney to make it current. Like a fuzzy black banana in the bottom of your fridge, you should get rid of and replace an “expired” will.
Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm that uses a holistic approach to help people get on with their new life by getting done with their old life. We believe having a thoughtful will package is family law, and we offer a robust selection of testamentary and other documents our clients need to confidently move on with their new lives. This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel. If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC. For more information, contact us at 817-601-5345, find us on the web at www.youngblood-law.com, or on your mobile device, open your browser and type in lawfw.biz and press Go.
Paul Youngblood #youneedawill #lawfw #youngbloodlaw #somedayistoday #collaborativedivorce #beingdivorceddoesntsuck