Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Lawyer's Edge
by Bruce L. Woodbury, Esq.
Jolley, Urga, Wirth, Woodbury & Standish

Updating Your Estate Planning

Change is a constant theme in most aspects of our lives, including our circumstances and intentions regarding our wills or trusts. What may have been appropriate ten or twenty years ago may no longer be the case.

Our family situations change. Children marry or divorce; an intended beneficiary may no longer be considered responsible or able to properly handle an inheritance; our own financial status may have changed significantly, for better or worse.

It is usually advisable to review and re-examine estate planning documents every few years to make sure they still reflect your needs and wishes. Where a simple Last Will and Testament may have been adequate in the past, you may now need a Living Trust to avoid probate and to reduce your estate’s exposure to federal estate taxes. In fact, change in the laws governing such taxes can warrant a new look at one’s estate planning. For example, the federal estate tax exemption is now $3.5 million. In 2010 the tax is eliminated altogether, but in 2011 it comes back with an exemption of only $1 million. All bets are off as to what Congress and the President will do about the exemption amount between now and then.

If you get married, divorced, or if your spouse dies, it is absolutely essential to review your estate planning with an experienced attorney. These types of events can change your Will or Trust as a matter of law, and you want to make sure those legally-mandated changes are consistent with your wishes.

In addition, the beneficiary designations for your life insurance and retirement accounts should be reviewed from time to time.

We all have a tendency to forget or procrastinate when it comes to planning for our passing, but keeping our plans updated can provide peace of mind for ourselves and our families.

Bruce L. Woodbury is an attorney with the law firm of Jolley Urga Wirth Woodbury & Standish. The firm has offices in Boulder City and Las Vegas. To contact Bruce, call him at 293-3674 or 699-7500, or visit his website at

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