Is it time to update your will? | Life Events for Estate Planning Updates

Is it time to update your will?

When Should I update my Last Will and Testament?

It’s a common misconception that once you’ve created your Last Will and Testament, you can just set it aside and forget about it. However, life’s not static and changes happen—events like getting married or divorced, buying a house, or having a child should trigger a review of your Will. Think of your Will as a living document that should evolve as your life does. Regular updates ensure that your estate plan reflects your current wishes and circumstances, protecting your family and ensuring your legacy is handled exactly how you envision.

Family Changes:

Family dynamics are ever-evolving, and significant changes within your family are critical moments to update your Last Will and Testament. Whether it’s the joyous addition of a new child through birth or adoption, a marriage, or the sadness of a divorce or death, each of these events can significantly impact how you might wish to distribute your assets. Keeping your Will updated in line with these changes ensures that your estate plan accurately reflects your current family structure and that your wishes are clearly defined and followed.

Should you change your will if you get married?

Absolutely, getting married is a pivotal event that should prompt you to update your Will. When you marry, your life and financial planning naturally intertwine with those of your spouse, and your estate plan should reflect this significant change. You may want to ensure that your new spouse is included as a beneficiary in your Will, or you might need to specify how your assets are to be divided among your spouse and any children from previous relationships. Updating your Will after getting married helps protect your spouse’s future financial security and ensures that your assets are distributed according to your updated wishes.

Updating Your Will if you have a child:

Having a child is one of the most significant life changes anyone can experience and it’s an important time to update your Will. You’ll want to ensure your new child is included as a beneficiary in your estate plan. This is also the ideal time to appoint guardians who would take care of your child if something were to happen to you and any other parent. Additionally, you might consider setting up trusts to manage the inheritance for minor children, ensuring that the funds are used in a manner you see fit until they are mature enough to handle the assets themselves. Updating your Will when you have a child not only secures their financial future but also arranges for their upbringing and care under circumstances you choose.

What about when that child turns 18?

When your child reaches the age of majority, it’s a crucial time to revisit your Will once again. This milestone might change how you want them to handle their inheritance. Depending on their maturity and your own wishes, you might decide to adjust the age at which they gain control over their inherited assets. For example, you may have originally set up a trust to hold the assets until they turn 18, but upon reflection, you might extend this to an older age, like 21 or 25, to ensure they are more capable of managing their finances responsibly. This update helps make sure that the inheritance supports your child’s long-term well-being in line with their evolving capabilities.

Updating Your Will if you get divorced:

Going through a divorce is a significant and often challenging life transition that requires updating your Will to reflect your new circumstances. It’s crucial to reassess your estate plan to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your revised wishes. This typically involves removing your former spouse as a beneficiary, which is an important step to avoid any unintended outcomes. You might also need to select a new executor or power of attorney if your ex-spouse previously held these roles. Making these changes to your Will after a divorce can help protect your assets and ensure they are allocated to those you truly intend, such as your children or other close relatives.

Life Changes:

Just as families evolve, so do individual lives through various experiences and milestones. Significant life events like starting a new job, moving to a new state, or experiencing a change in financial status should prompt a review of your Last Will and Testament. These changes can affect not only your asset distribution but also your designated beneficiaries and executors. Making updates to your Will to reflect your current life situation ensures that your estate plan remains effective and aligned with your most recent life changes, safeguarding your legacy and providing peace of mind.

You just bought a house:

Purchasing a new home is not only a major financial investment but also an important reason to update your Will. Owning a home changes the structure and value of your estate significantly. You may want to ensure that your new property is passed along according to your wishes and possibly without the hassle of probate. This could involve setting up a transfer-on-death deed that allows your home to directly transfer to a specified beneficiary, such as a spouse or child. Additionally, you might consider adjusting your life insurance coverage to cover mortgage payments to aid your family financially if needed. Reassesing your Will after buying a house helps to seamlessly integrate this substantial asset into your overall estate plan.

Your business is growing:

If you’re a business owner then you want to keep a close eye on your estate planning documents. When your business experiences growth, it’s crucial to revisit your estate plan to accommodate these changes. Even if you didn’t anticipate such expansion, significant developments in your business should prompt a review of your estate planning documents. This reassessment ensures that your plan adequately addresses the increased value and complexity of your business assets. You may need to update your succession plan to clarify who will manage or inherit the business, ensuring a seamless transition without disruptions. Additionally, consider whether new trusts should be established to protect your expanding assets and provide for your loved ones effectively.

You’re moving to a new state:

Relocating to a new state is a significant life event that necessitates a review of your Will and estate plan. Each state has unique laws regarding estate planning, which might impact how your assets are handled after your death. Upon moving, consult with a local estate planning attorney to ensure that your Will and other documents comply with your new state’s regulations. This might include adjusting powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and even beneficiary designations to align with local practices and laws. Making these updates can prevent legal complications and ensure that your estate plan works as intended in your new home state.

How often do people change their wills?

Ultimately, the decision to change a will depends on individual circumstances and the need to ensure that the document accurately reflects one’s wishes and intentions. Consulting with an estate planning attorney can provide guidance on when updates to a will are advisable.

How the Forever Estate Plan gives you an edge:

The Forever Estate Plan offers a comprehensive solution, including essential documents like a Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and Living Will. What sets us apart is our commitment to lifetime support. With our plan, you can update your estate documents annually, free of charge subject to terms and conditions. This ensures that your plan remains current and reflects any major family or life changes, giving you peace of mind and an edge in estate planning.

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