Creating a will is a very important step for both your peace of mind and the protection of the people you love. It can help you live your life more comfortably to know that your family members will be advised of your wishes and follow them out if anything were to happen to you.
While putting a will in place is an important step and one that too many people fail to complete, it is not the end of the estate planning process. So long as your personal and financial circumstances continue to change, your estate planning needs will evolve as well.
Most people will eventually need to change their wills after important life experiences. Read on to learn about some of the common reasons people update their existing wills.
- You change your marital status
If you created a will with your spouse, then they were probably your main beneficiary and may play a role in your trust or living documents as well. When your spouse dies or you divorce, you will need to remove them from positions of authority in your estate plan and replace them as a beneficiary in your will. If you recently got married, you will likely want to update your estate plan to ensure that your spouse receives the support they may require and has the authority necessary in an emergency.
- You have children
Needing to protect the new children that depend on you is an admirable reason to update a will. You can name a guardian for your children and also provide resources for their care if anything were to happen to you while they are still young.
- You lose a family member included in your will
Whether your selected executor dies before you or one of your beneficiaries passes away surprisingly young, you will need to update your documents to reflect your new family situation. Documents that include very outdated terms, including deceased executors or beneficiaries, may be at elevated risk of a challenge in probate court after your death.
There are countless reasons why you may need to revisit your will, ranging from retiring to buying a vacation home. Any significant changes to your personal circumstances, relationships or assets will likely require a careful review of your will.
Keeping your estate planning documents up to date will help you protect your wishes and the people you love. An experienced attorney can help you review your will and other estate planning documents to determine if you may benefit from modifications at this stage in your life.