Perhaps you, like many others, believe that once your will has been drawn up, that’s the end of the process. While wills have never been anyone’s idea of fun, it’s important to review your will on a regular basis. There are many reasons to pull out your will and give it a thorough review.
Most common reasons to Revise Your Will
1. New family members. In general, if a will is worded properly, any children that are born after the will has been signed will be entitled to the same share of the estate as the pre-existing children. Even so, if you have a new child, check with your attorney just to be sure everything is worded according to your wishes.
* Also consider how your wishes might change based on other new people in your life. What if you re-connect with a family member? What if you make a new best friend? Maybe one of them would be the person to take good care of your boat when you’re gone. Consider all new people who’ve entered your life since you signed your will.
2. Moving. States have different laws regarding estate taxes and how property is treated. So if you move from one state to another, there may be some major issues that need to be examined. Consult your attorney anytime you move to a new state as this can have significant ramifications.
3. A windfall. A large increase in your wealth may require another look at your will. Again, this depends on your state. Some states have monetary limits for certain types of inheritance items. Creating a trust might be the right move for you now.
* With your new wealth, you may also have a greater degree of flexibility to take advantage of certain tax shelters. And you might be considering being more generous regarding who’s included in your will.
4. Divorce. Most of us aren’t interested in leaving anything to our ex-spouses. If you’ve gotten divorced since your will was drawn up, it’s time to talk to your attorney. A proper and thorough revision will reduce the likelihood of the will being contested. Consider the fact that if you don’t change this document, your ex could end up with everything!
5. Death. If your spouse or only child passes away, your will should undergo a thorough review. This event may radically change how you wish to distribute your assets. Back-up recipients are usually specified within a will, but it never hurts to take another look.
6. Change of heart. Most wills are drafted by people who are still quite young. As you age, however, your wishes may change. Maybe you were very close to your brother at one point, but haven’t spoken to him in the last five years.
* Additionally, as some people age, they become more involved with charitable organizations. Maybe you’ll have the desire to include such a group in your will.
Your will we most likely not be a static document throughout your life. As your circumstances, family, and social connections change, some modifications will likely need to be made.
Review the list above and note if any of these items have occurred since your will was completed. If so, schedule some time with your attorney today. In this case, more than in many others, it’s better to be safe than sorry.