You have heard the stories about friends, relatives and celebrities who failed to create estate plans, leading to avoidable legal imbroglios. With confidence, you kick back and relax, knowing you have a thorough estate plan that includes a detailed will. You prepared, and, now, are set for years to come. Or so you think.
Good for you in having worked with an estate planning attorney in creating a will – a legal document covering your plans as to how you want your assets distributed once you die. However, you should not be so quick to think you are covered. Wills need attention, regular reviews and regular updates. Many estate planning attorneys recommend that you review your will every three to five years. Whenever a major life event surfaces, update your will.
Life events require changes in your will
Having an outdated will can cause complications. Maybe you divorced and remarried, but your first spouse remains a beneficiary on the will. Or you learn about the unseemly dealings of your executor, who turns out to be not-so-trustworthy after all.
Here are some of the reasons why you need to update your will:
- Birth of children
- Birth of grandchildren
- The purchase of a home
- Launching of a business
- Remarriage, which sometimes includes stepchildren
- Deaths of beneficiaries, including close family members
- The decision to name a new executor
- A change in your preferred charities
- The receipt of a significant inheritance
- The move to another state as different laws pertaining to estate planning may exist there
Congratulations on having an estate plan. However, you must remember that when things change in your life, so should your will. Understand the potential consequences of not updating your will.