When tax laws change, it may be necessary to change your will, according to Wealth Management in "Reforming a Will for Tax Savings."
Wills are not necessarily set in stone after someone passes away. Under some circumstances, such as tax law modification, probate courts are able to change a deceased person's will, which is called "reforming the will."
If the provisions of the will as written make it impossible to fulfill the clear intent of the deceased, then the court can change those provisions to fulfill the intent.
Reformation is rarely used, because it is difficult to divine the intent of someone who has passed away.
The idea is this: if the intent is clear that the deceased wished to minimize the tax burden on the estate and the tax laws have changed since the will was drafted, then a will can be reformed to fulfill that intent.
However, people should not rely on the possibility that a court will use reformation for this purpose.
Instead, when tax laws change, people should go back to their estate planning attorneys and update their wills to reflect the new laws. This ensures that their wills do fulfill their intent, which is better than relying on a court to decide whether the wills do or do not.
Changes to federal tax laws are expected soon.
Our expert estate planning attorneys would be happy to advise you on keeping your estate plan up to date with current laws.