When you first complete a will, it hopefully will be years before anyone needs to execute your plan. Most likely, your life will change over time. In fact, after some life changes or enough time has passed, you should consider updating your will.
Here are some circumstances where updating your will is beneficial:
- You divorce or remarry. You may want to no longer have some of your assets go to your ex, or you may want to add your new spouse as one of your beneficiaries. If you are remarrying, you also may want to specify that certain assets go to children from your first marriage rather than everything go to your new spouse.
- You move to a new state. Each state has different laws when it comes to creating a will. You should consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure your will meets the requirements of your new state and that your address information has been updated on your will.
- You want to add new grandchildren as beneficiaries. When your family expands, you may want to designate specific assets to your grandchildren.
- You want to recognize the child who has served as your primary caregiver. If one of your children has taken on the job of caring for you, you may want to give that child more assets, or give them a treasured collection or heirloom jewelry or furniture to show your gratitude for their care.
- One of your beneficiaries has passed away. Life can take unexpected twists and turns. You may lose a spouse to cancer at a young age or suffer the sudden loss of a child in an accident. You should update your will if one of your beneficiaries passes away.
When you pass retirement age, you should plan on updating your will about every five years. You want to ensure all your estate planning documents are up-to-date so your final wishes for your estate assets and end-of-life care are honored.