Every adult should have a will, even if only to make end of life wishes clear. However, merely having a will does not offer the full range of benefits that a person can enjoy. It is also important to keep a will updated regularly to address any life changes that may affect the will.
If you recently experienced a significant life event and already have a valid will, you should review the document to make sure that all of the information within it and the wishes that you lay out remain relevant to your circumstances. If you do not, you may find that your will creates conflicts for your loved ones and beneficiaries after you pass away.
It is always wise to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you assess your circumstances and keep your will updated and comprehensive. An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you about potential conflicts that your will may create for others, as well as help you protect your own interests.
Life changes that may affect a will
Many different events in your life may justify updating your will or at least reviewing it to make sure that all of the wishes you lay out within the will remain relevant. You may wish to update your will after any significant changes in the structure of your family, for instance.
This might mean amending some portion of the will after:
- you or one of your beneficiaries gets married
- you or one of your beneficiaries gets divorced
- a new beneficiary enters your family, such as a child or grandchild
- a beneficiary passes away
- a conflict between family members or other beneficiaries
These are merely a few of the many family events that may affect the elements of your will. Furthermore, you may wish to adjust your will for a number of financial reasons, if a certain financial event or trend changes the way that your estate might distribute. This includes:
- an increase in income or sudden windfall that changes the value of your estate significantly
- a decrease in income that changes the value of your estate significantly
- a sudden windfall of resources
- a significant loss in the estate
- changes in the tax code that affect your long- or short-term plans
- purchase or sale of your primary home
- relocating to another state
- changes in your medical care needs or preferences
If you have a will and experience any of these life events, or some other event that affects the contents of your will, be sure to address it as soon as possible to ensure that your will remains valid and useful to your loved ones when the time comes.
It is always wise to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you assess your estate planning needs and determine strong strategies to address those needs.
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