NJ.com: Q. Our daughter was very young when my wife and I had wills prepared. Our daughter is now married with a different last name. Is it necessary to change our will to reflect this? If yes, must we use a lawyer to make the change?
A. No, but it might be a smart investment anyway.
Your executor is charged with identifying and notifying your intended beneficiaries, said Frederick Schoenbrodt, an estate planning attorney with Neff Aguilar in Red Bank.
“If there is no ambiguity regarding who you meant when you referred to your daughter in your will – and there probably isn’t – then your executor will make the gift to your daughter, even if she has taken a new surname,” he said.
The will reflects your intent, and the process of settling your estate should facilitate that intent, he said.
“While formalities in will drafting are important, the probate and administration process is not so formalistic that your daughter’s name change as a result of her marriage would frustrate your clearly stated intent,” he said.
But there may be other reasons to revisit your will.