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Q: I am unsure about my mother’s will. What steps do I need to take to update it?

Posted September 03, 2014 in Advice Column, Ames

A: If your mom already has a will, then she is ahead of the game. But do you really remember what your wishes were put into it when prepared? Do you remember where you put your copy of the will? In a file cabinet? A safe deposit box? If you do find it, the times have probably changed and it no longer co-exists to the present issues. Using the checklist below will help realize if your will or loved one’s will needs to be updated.

Use this checklist of factors to consider when reviewing a will: Birth or adoption of a child/grandchild, marriage/divorce, death of someone named in your will, children have reached the age of 18, a change in the circumstances of your executor, guardians, trustees, etc., an increase or decrease in the value of your estate, you started a business, a change in tax laws, you are approaching the age at which you are required to begin taking distributions from your IRA, 401(k) or other qualified plan, you moved out of state or it has been three years or more since you have reviewed your will.

If you do decide to make a change to your will, seek a local attorney to assure all the proper legal steps are taken. It does not have to be the original attorney who drafted your will.

Information provided by Joan Ingwersen, owner, At-Home Care Company LLC, 113 Colorado Ave., Ames, 515-292-2650.

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