Once you’ve taken the important step of drafting a will, the work isn’t completely over. It’s important to consistently update your will in order to keep the documentation relevant throughout the remainder of your life.
When are some of the key times to update a will? What are some elements you’ll need to change or add throughout your lifetime? Some major milestones beget estate plan updates, but minor life changes may also prompt action in regards to your last will and testament. Here are a few milestones to keep in mind.
Life changes prompt will updates
Many people wait to make a will for the first time until after major life changes like a marriage or becoming a parent. In actuality, single persons should create a will long before these milestones. This will be only the first of multiple iterations of an estate plan.
Once those life-changing milestones happen, that’s the time to rethink and rework a will. Some examples include:
- Getting married
- Becoming a parent
- Purchasing property
- Substantial wealth increase
- Divorcing a partner
- Deaths in the family
- Serious illness
Not every life change is a positive one. Unfortunately, people may come in and out of your life over the course of time. Those changes need to prompt updates to your will. If something were to happen and a deceased person is set to take on important elements of your estate, that’s added hassle to the process.
It’s also important to keep your will up-to-date with changes in the law. The state and federal tax laws impact your estate plans in terms of what you can leave to dependents and beneficiaries. Your financial situation may improve or decline over the years, meaning your estate plan needs to reflect an accurate representation of personal wealth and assets.
Time brings change
Even just the simple passage of time is an important reason to keep a will updated. Children become adults, relationships change, properties increase in value and health declines. Sometimes it doesn’t take an action to alter a will. Time moves forward and an estate plan needs to account for such changes.
Advice from a legal professional can make this process as efficient and effective as possible. If you’ve taken the steps to prepare a preliminary estate plan, do yourself and your loved ones a favor by keeping it up-to-date throughout your life.