A last will and testament is the cornerstone of any good estate plan. However, these documents are not intended to be “set it and forget”. As your life changes, so will your estate plan.
That is why updating your will is so important. Here are a few different situations that warrant a thorough review – and possible update – to your will.
You are getting divorced
Changing your will in the lead up to your divorce is highly recommended. After all, consider what might happen if you die before the divorce takes place. Your current spouse will have a legal claim to a portion of your estate, which will likely counter your wishes. Along with speaking to a divorce attorney, make time to talk with an estate planning attorney to ensure your current plan is sufficient.
A current beneficiary experiences a change in lifestyle
Sadly, a beneficiary’s emerging drug problem calls for an immediate will update. Instead of leaving the person money via your will, which might put their health and well-being in danger, you can place their inheritance into a trust which requires them to take a specific action in order to receive it. For example, you might mandate that the person attend drug rehab or only receives their inheritance in small increments. As helpful as will are, they cannot do the same things a trust can.
Your financial situation improves
Your will is tailored to your financial status at the time it is created, so it stands to reason it should be changed if you suddenly become a lot richer. For instance, you may want to increase your charitable contributions, which can help ease the tax burdens of your estate. You may also choose to increase the inheritances of your beneficiaries, which might require drafting a new will. No matter what your unique financial situation looks like, making a timely update is a must to ensure your estate is well cared for after you are gone.