Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents
Once they make a will, many people will put it in a safe deposit box or leave a copy with their attorney, and forget about it. However, there are many reasons to review and update your will and other estate planning documents. For instance, let's say you've found the love of your life and want to make sure they are included in your estate plan, either before or after marriage. Now is the time to update your will. Had a baby or adopted a child? Now is the time to update your will. Are you going through a divorce with the former love of your life? Now is the time to update your will. Did you just come into a whole lot of cash or other assets? Now is the time to review and possibly change your will. While the reasons may be endless, we've listed a few more possible life changes that may prompt you to change your estate plan.
Below is a checklist of events that may prompt you to do so.
|____||The individuals you have named are deceased.|
|____||New people should be named in your will (e.g. birth, adoption).|
|____||Divorce or marriage.|
|____||New state laws. You need to periodically check to see whether your state has enacted new laws that impact your estate planning documents. More importantly, if you move to a different state, don't assume that your will made in your previous state conforms to the requirements of your new state. Each state has its own legal requirements for making a will.|
|____||Change in guardians, personal representatives, or trustees.|
|____||Children reach the age of eighteen.|
|____||A substantial increase or decrease in the value of your estate.|
|____||The acquisition or disposition of a significant asset.|
|____||You should see an attorney about reviewing and updating your estate plans prior to reaching 701/2 years of age if you have an IRA, 401(k), or other qualified plan that requires you to begin to take distributions at age 701/2. The beneficiary that you designated will have an irrevocable impact on both your and your beneficiary's required distributions.|
|____||The passage of time is reason enough. You should review your will and estate planning documents every three to five years.|
Reasons to Update Your Will: Additional Resources
If you've read this article and still feel like you are yearning for more information, you are in luck. Click on the links below to learn more information. If you are planning your estate or updating your will, the best thing to do is consult with an estate planning attorney in your area to make sure you are following the laws and regulations of your respective state.
- Last Will and Testament Forms
- What Not To Include When Making a Will
- Advance Directives and Living Wills: State-Specific Forms
- Prepare to Meet with an Estate Planning Lawyer
Need Help Updating Your Will? Contact an Attorney
While there may be a million and one reasons to update your estate plan, you should always know the law before changing your wishes. What's the best way to go about doing this? Simply contact a local estate planning attorney to discuss the parameters of your life change or other significant, triggering event.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.