Your will is an essential part of your estate plan. But wills must be updated over time in order to ensure that your assets are fully protected for the benefit of your loved ones.
Knowing why your will may need to be updated is the best way to protect the future of your assets while avoiding common issues such as the invalidation of your will.
Your will outlines the ways in which you want your assets to be managed during your lifetime and distributed to beneficiaries at the time of your death. But there are a number of changes that can occur during that time.
The following aspects of your estate planning can change after you’ve established your will.
Changes in the family resulting from marriage, births, and deaths require you to update the terms of your will. Some wills must be updated to reflect when a child has reached the age of eighteen.
Changes in the marital status of you or your beneficiaries may also impact the manner in which assets are distributed. If you’ve had a child since you created your will, you’ll need to update it to include provisions related to guardianship.
Moving to a new state will influence how your estate plan is managed and executed. The laws related to wills and other estate planning vehicles vary according to each state.
You should consult with an estate planning attorney to determine how the laws in your new state will affect your assets and their distribution.
In some cases, a will may be invalid if it doesn’t comply with state laws. So having the right legal resources is critical to your long-term estate planning goals.
Tax laws related to estate planning can also change with time. Any changes should be followed by a review and update of your will. This prevents common issues that lead to lengthy and costly proceedings for you or your beneficiaries.
An experienced estate planning attorney keeps you up-to-date on tax code changes so that your will and estate remain fully protected over time.
Changes to Your Personal Finances
Your personal finances may change as time goes on. Starting a new business or selling an existing one will affect your estate planning needs and goals. Also, many people experience significant changes in the value of their assets, which requires them to update their wills. Taking distributions from a 401(k), IRA, and other plans must also be considered when reviewing and revising your will.
Updating Your Will is a Long-Term Strategy
Regardless of whether or not the changes above occur, it’s still a good idea to periodically review your will and make the necessary changes.
Failing to update your will can cause them to become outdated. As a result, your personal wishes may not be carried out at the time of your death simply because the will wasn’t updated.
Your estate planning attorney can help you establish a schedule within which to review your estate plan. The revision process should include a review of the beneficiaries, trustees and executors, guardians, and representatives who are part of your estate plan.
This makes it easy to determine if there have been any changes in your relationships with the individuals involved or in their ability to carry out their duties in executing your will.
An annual review ensures that your will is current and complies with the existing tax laws. You can schedule the updating of your will during tax time. Addressing all of your finances at once gives you a “big picture” view of your goals and the strategies you have in place.
Knowing the reasons why your will may need to be updated helps you stay on top of your estate plan so that you achieve all of your goals and maximize the value of your assets for your loved ones.