Many people often overlook the importance of having a will, especially younger individuals. When someone does have a will, they may stash it somewhere safe and never update it. This can be almost as problematic as not having a will in the first place.
Life moves fast, and significant changes can happen anytime. Because of this it is essential to update your will periodically and when noteworthy changes in your life happen.
When should you update your will?
As a benchmark, it may be a good idea to take a look at your will about every five years and make any necessary changes. Otherwise, any time a major life event happens, you might want to adjust your will.
Some major life events include:
- Marriage or divorce: Estate laws can be confusing when marriage or divorce happens. It may be in your best interest to amend or revoke your will if you get married or divorced.
- Real estate transactions: If you purchase real estate, you may want to update your will to include it. Likewise, if you have sold a house, removing it from the estate plan will alleviate any problems later.
- The birth or loss of a child: If you have a baby, adopt a child or your child passes away, you may want to update your will to reflect these changes.
- New law changes: If the state you live in has changed any estate planning laws, you might need to update your will. Moving to a new state could trigger this as well. Your new state of residence likely has different regulations. You may also want to take a look at the federal laws surrounding wills as these can change and impact your plans as well.
- Changes in assets: If your finances have increased or decreased significantly, you could update your will to reflect those changes.
If you run into any problems or have any questions about when to update your will, speaking with an estate planning attorney may help. They can walk you through the process of updating your will and review your current documents to ensure they are up-to-date.