After drafting their wills, many people let them sit for years. If you have made this mistake, it is not too late to dust yours off, review it and revise it as necessary. As your life changes, you will want to make sure your will changes alongside it. By knowing the appropriate occasions to update it, you will make sure that your assets end up with the people you want to have them.
The passage of time
Often, you need no reason to update your will besides the passage of time. It is possible the intentions you set forth in your will when you drafted it remain unchanged. Yet, it is more likely that they will change as your life does. To make sure your will accounts for your current wishes, you will want to revisit it every three to five years.
The occurrence of major events
Updating your will for every minor event that happens in your life means you would likely revisit it at least once per year. Giving your will this level of attention is unnecessary. Rather, you will want to make changes to it soon after you experience a major life event, especially if it affects the composition of your assets or the people you want them to pass along to.
Some major events that will require you to update your will include:
- You acquire or inherit significant assets
- You sell or lose significant assets
- You move to another state
- Your estate is affected by changes in state or federal tax codes
- You or a beneficiary get married, divorced or remarried
- You become a parent or grandparent, whether through birth or adoption
- You become estranged from your executor or a beneficiary
- Your executor or a beneficiary passes away
Whenever you update your will, you must be sure that any changes you make to it are valid. To ensure your will works in the way you intend it to, you may want an estate planning attorney to help you review and revise it.