Who should change their wills?
Q. A recent ''Moneywise'' column discussed the possible need to change a will in order to leave an entire estate to a spouse. My wife and I each have a will leaving everything to the other. No mention is made in the will of a tax limit; no limit of any kind is intended. We live in a community-property state and the gross for both of us is under $600,000. Is there any reason for us to amend our wills? -A.H.Skip to next paragraph
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A. It sounds as if there is no reason for a change in your case. The only people who need to rewrite or amend their wills are those who specifically mentioned tax limits in the document. If a will was written before Sept. 12, 1981, and stated that the spouse was to receive as much as current tax laws allowed, a court might rule that the person writing the will did not intend to leave the entire estate to the spouse. The rest would then be divided among other beneficiaries, often on a percentage basis.
When Congress changed the law, it required people to change these wills, apparently figuring that many people may not have intended to leave an entire estate to their spouses.
If you're still not sure, see your lawyer.