When did you last think about updating your Last Will & Testament (“Will”)? Once you’ve written a Will it’s easy to forget about it, even if you’ve gone through significant life changes since then. But if your Will isn’t up to date, you risk major contention and stress for your loved ones when you pass away. That’s why it’s incredibly important to update your Will frequently. This guide will show you when and how you should update your Estate Planning documents (e.g. Wills and/or Trusts) and why it’s so important.
5 Reasons Why You Should Update Your Will Frequently
Several important life changes require an updated Will. Here are the top five reasons you should update your will:
1. You have children or grandchildren
You may want to update your Will to include any additional children or grandchildren to ensure your estate is shared fairly.
2. You get married
In most states, your spouse is entitled to half of your assets unless you have a written agreement otherwise. If you don’t want to leave half of your assets to your new spouse, you need to update your Will to specify that.
On the other hand, you may want to create a joint Will which means your entire estate is passed to your spouse upon your death.
3. Someone in your will dies
Your will should be updated to outline what Will happen to the assets initially gifted to the person who has passed away.
4. Your executor is no longer suitable
It’s vital to have an executor to carry out the wishes in your Will. If this person dies or becomes unable to fulfill this role, it’s critical to appoint a new executor. This can be a trusted family member or your lawyer to ensure this role is taken care of professionally.
5. You move state
If you’ve moved to a different state since you wrote your Will, make sure you check your Will is in line with your new state’s laws.
How Often Should You Update Your Will?
If you’ve experienced any of the above life changes, you should update your Will ASAP. However, if you haven’t gone through any major life changes, you should still aim to update your Will at least every five years.
This will ensure your Will reflects your most recent wishes and abides by any new state laws that may come into effect.
Looking for expert probate guidance?
Whether you need to update your Will or create your first one, we are here to help. Our team specializes in Will and probate laws and can walk you through the process. Get in touch now to speak to a member of our team.