In our last post, we discussed the reasons why everyone - including young people - needs a will. A will is an important document that ensures your assets are protected, your wishes adhered to, and your loved ones spared from making difficult decisions.
One important quality of a will that can be easy to forget, however, is that it is most effective when treated as a living document. This means regularly revisiting your will to ensure it is still up to date and in line with your wishes. There are many times when updating a will may be appropriate. Here are few examples:
- Marriage: Whether you are getting married for the first time or the fourth, you should always update your will to reflect it.
- Divorce: Divorce can be a difficult and emotional time. With a lot going on, it is easy to overlook your estate planning documents. However, forgetting to update your will after a divorce could mean leaving your ex-spouse as a beneficiary.
- Birth or adoption: When you have a new child, it is likely you will want to include them in your will.
- A major change in income: Suddenly having much more or much less may lead to a change in plans. Revisit your will to make sure it makes sense with your current situation.
- Acquiring or losing significant assets: Similar to a change in income, the acquisition or loss of substantial assets should be addressed in your will.
- Your children become legal adults: When your kids turn 18, you will no longer need to have a guardian appointed or other preparations you might have had in place should you pass away unexpectedly. Their adulthood may also affect the method in which you would like your assets distributed to them.
- A loved one passes away: If someone who was named in your will passes away, you will need to make adjustments.
- Change in state laws: If Missouri changes its estate planning laws, it is important to review your will to ensure it still complies. Your attorney can help you do this.
- It has been five years since your last update: Even if you have experienced no major life changes, it is still a good idea to regularly review your will. Every three to five years is best for ensuring it is still in line with your wishes.
If you are reviewing your will and determine that an update is necessary, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer. At TdD Attorneys at Law LLC, we can help ensure your will is updated in a way that complies with the law and is likely to be upheld in court.