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Changing beneficiaries in a last will and testament

Oklahoma residents who draft a last will and testament may wish to regularly revisit the document to ensure that its provisions remain accurate and truly reflect their wishes. Sometimes, it may be necessary to change beneficiaries, especially when testators change their mind about who should inherit their estate. In other cases, the terms of the will become outdated.

This could happen in the event that the testator marries or divorces someone subsequent to the drafting of the will. Other events that might affect a testator's will are the deaths of appointed beneficiaries and the births of potential new beneficiaries.

When making changes to wills, it is important to provide specific information about beneficiaries, such as full names and places of residence, as a measure against confusion and disputes. Sometimes, probate law may permit new beneficiaries to be provided for even if the testator did not update the will. In Oklahoma, the spouse of a deceased individual is protected in this way by elective share laws.

The position of children not named in a will is not so clear. An Oklahoma resident would have to specifically exclude children whom they do not want to share in the inheritance. Otherwise, statutory protections may apply.

The last will and testament is often the most important part of an Oklahoma resident's estate plan, and the importance of keeping this document accurate cannot be over-stressed. Another important step to take concerning wills is to consult with an estate planning attorney. From drafting a will to keeping it updated, the attorney may provide a testator invaluable direction and assistance. Furthermore, consulting an estate planning attorney to make appropriate changes to the document's beneficiaries could help to prevent conflict among heirs.

Source: National Paralegal College , "Changes in Beneficiaries", November 17, 2014

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4800 North Lincoln Boulevard
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