Estate Planning/Probate

When should you update your will?

Dec 10, 2020

Most Americans put off writing a will. You might have too, until finally you created one 20 years ago, when your children were young. You wanted to ensure your assets would go to them if something unforeseen happened. But now they are grown up and living on their own. You are nearing retirement and wonder if you should update your will.

Updating a will when life changes

You should update your will anytime you experience big life changes. For example, you should consider updating your will when:

  1. You move to a new state. Different states have different laws regarding how a will is drafted and those laws change periodically too. You want to consider revising your will to meet the requirements of the state you live in.
  2. You divorce. You may have forgotten that you had your ex-spouse listed as a beneficiary in your will. You likely want to change that after you divorce.
  3. You want to change the executor of your estate. Perhaps, now one of your children is old enough to serve as the executor of your estate and you want them to do that.
  4. One of your children struggles with a substance abuse problem and you don’t want your assets to go directly to them. You may want to a create a trust so that you can specify how much and how often your child will receive assets from your estate.
  5. You have a grandchild you now want to include in your will.
  6. You inherit a large sum of money and want to distribute your assets differently.
  7. One of your heirs dies or your named estate executor passes away.

As you age, changes happen more frequently

As you grow older, you should consider updating your will about every five years. You may soon have multiple new grandchildren in a two- or three-year period. You may want to remarry in your golden years. You want to make sure it is up to date with your current wishes. Then, you will have peace of mind that you have passed on your assets as you intended to.