You've done it. You've met with an attorney and have officially signed your last will and testament, and related estate plan documents. Nothing to worry about now, right? Well, not quite.
While it's certainly an accomplishment that you've drawn up your will, you're far from finished with administering your estate plan. Life changes, and as it changes, your estate plan should be changing too. Here are six valid reasons to update your will and/or the rest of your estate plan documents.
1. Your Beneficiaries are Deceased
One of the main reasons to update your will is if one of your designated beneficiaries has passed away. If assets are passed down to a pre-deceased beneficiary, those assets may then be passed down to someone you didn't contemplate before the death.
You might want this to happen, but in any case, it's wise to update your will so that your intended beneficiaries are properly designated.
2. New Beneficiaries Need to Be Added
Perhaps you have a new grandchild or son or daughter-in-law? Maybe you've made a new friend whom you would like to designate as a beneficiary? In any case, you may want to add this new beneficiary to your will.
If this is the case, you should add him or her as soon as possible. This would require a will update.
3. You Are Newly Divorced
Another reason to update your will is if you have gone through divorce proceedings. If you've been divorced after you initially drew up your will, your life has likely seen a number of changes which may not be adequately reflected in the will.
Divorces are messy and can result in a number of complications to your estate planning process. You'll want to ensure that everything in your will is updated to reflect changes in your life and intended beneficiaries.
4. You Have Reason to Change Your Designated Representatives
Perhaps you've had a falling out with the designated guardians for your children? Maybe your assigned executor can no longer competently discharge the responsibility you've designated? Maybe one of your fiduciaries has become unable to serve your interests.
In these cases it will be necessary to update your will and related documents. Until your documents are updated, the guardians and executors you assigned in the past may not be willing or able to carry out their duties and your wishes. .
5. Your Children Have Reached the Age of Eighteen or Later
Did you plan your estate at a time when your children were minors under the age of eighteen? If so, you've likely passed assets down to them through a trust.
If your children are now legal adults over eighteen, you'll want to consider whether the language in your will, trust or other document still operates the way you want it to.
6. Your Financial Situation Has Changed Substantially
Maybe you have a more lucrative job than you had 5 years ago? Perhaps your investments have generated a substantial return, or you inherited. ? Whatever the case may be, your financial situation may have changed substantially.
When your assets increase, the administrative complexities, including taxes, which are associated with them increase as well. You'll want to update your will to legally minimize your administrative and tax burden as much as possible.
7. A Significant Period of Time Has Passed
Life is always changing in some way. When your life changes, your estate plan needs to change with it. Therefore, regardless of whether or not anything significant has happened in your life, you'll want to review and update your will on an ongoing basis.
It's wise to speak about your will with an estate attorney every 5 to 7 years, or sooner if you have had a material change in circumstances or named fiduciaries. He or she will help you to keep everything up to date.
Interested in Updating Your Will?
A will should be updated on a consistent basis. Are you interested in updating your will? If so, and if you live in or near the Glenview area, the experts here at John J. Pembroke & Associates can help.
Our team of attorneys has decades of experience, and we know the estate planning process and how best to implement and administer it. It would be our honor to assist you.
Contact us today to discuss your needs!