When is it time to update your will?

Estate Planning Lawyer

You’ve written your will. It’s polished, legally binding, and a document you feel confident about if anything were to happen to you. Now that you’ve written your will, you can forget about it until the day you need it, right? Not really. A will is a living document. Just like your life has important changes and events, so does your will. It’s important that you have a will that accurately reflects your wishes at any given time. Here are some reasons why you need to update your will.

Why do I need to update my will?

It may sound repetitive, but you do need to update your will occasionally throughout your lifetime. Most people create their will right after they get married or have their first child. Years can pass and if you don’t update your will, you could be left with leaving your property and guardianship of your children to people you may not talk to anymore.

Key times to update your will

While you may not need to update your will at every life event, you should look over and review your will every time a major life change or event takes place to make sure it is up to date and accurate.

  1. Marriage. This may seem obvious – and many people create their will right after they get married – but it’s important nonetheless. You and your spouse should both create a new will when you get married to ensure that your spouse is entitled to claim your assets and property. In many states, this is implied, but it’s always good to have it legally documented.
  2. Divorce. When you and your ex get divorced, you need to review your will. You may not want your ex-spouse to be the beneficiary of all or most of your property. A new will can also name new guardians for your children. Again, many states revoke any gifts given to ex-spouses, but you should still create a new will after you get a divorce.
  3. New kid(s). Anytime you have a new child you will want to update your will. You would hate for something to happen to you and have not included one of your children in your estate plan. You will also need to name a guardian for each child (if you don’t it will be left up to the state to decide).
  4. Stepchildren. Just like your biological children, you may want to leave some of your property and assets to your stepchildren. If you inherit any step children during the course of your new marriage, you need to update your will to include them.
  5. Acquire substantial new assets. Anytime you acquire something large, such as a home, you will want to update your will to ensure that it goes to a beneficiary after your death. This is also true for any property you no longer own. You’d hate to leave one of your beneficiaries out to dry if you left them a piece of property you no longer own.

There are two ways you can change a will. You can add a legal “P.S.” known as a codicil, or you can just make a new will. A living will lawyer Philadelphia, PA trusts can help you update your will or create a new will.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Klenk Law for their knowledge about updating wills and estate planning.