Having a will is an essential part to your estate plan. But once you have created a will, it isn't as if you can just put your hands up and say "well, I'm done with this forever!" Wills must be updated frequently, and there are many specific circumstances that can arise that should cause you to look over your will and update it accordingly. If you don't update your will, you could risk your assets going to someone or some party that you didn't intend.
So what "specific circumstances" are we talking about here? These are just a few examples of things that should make you review your will:
- Any major life event, such as marriage, divorce or birth of a child, should cause you to look over your will and update it accordingly.
- If state laws change where you live that affect estates, taxes, trusts, wills and other elements of estate planning, then you should review your entire estate, including the will.
- If any of your listed beneficiaries have passed away, or if you have had a significant or permanent "falling out" with any of your beneficiaries, then you should review your will.
- If your children reach the age of 18 or if any legal statuses change in terms of guardianships or trustees, then you should update your will.
- If you acquire a significant asset or if you have a substantial change in your income (whether it is an increase or decrease), then you should update your will.
Source: FindLaw, "Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents," Accessed April 13, 2017