Why would I update my will?

An estate plan is an essential tool for adults to have in place. Getting your personal wishes and asset designations in writing can save your loved ones from guilt and disagreements after an unexpected death.

However, establishing a plan isn’t necessarily a one-time deal. Your will, in particular, should reflect changes in your life.

Three considerations for making changes to an estate plan

There are many circumstances under which wills should be updated. Significant life events often merit reexamining priorities.

You might already think about updating your will if you change your marital status, have children or if relationships with beneficiaries change. However, there are additional considerations for updating your plans.

For example:

  • One of your kids gets married. You probably want to think about how you’ll leave an inheritance to your child while protecting their individual interests in the event their relationship doesn’t last.
  • You now have grandchildren that you want to provide for.
  • You have a struggling beneficiary. It might be tough to consider leaving your hard-earned money to an heir who has an addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling. You may question whether funds will be used as intended. In that case, a trust can allow you to specify a third party to control financial distribution.
  • Changes in estate laws could alter your plans. Your attorney can help you minimize probate and reduce tax penalties according to recent legislation.

There’s no specific timeframe in which you ought to take another look at your will. However, it’s good to remember that as life unfolds, so might your desires for your legacy.