Is it time to update your Will?
Think of your Will as a living legal document that can save you and your loved ones a lot of time, money, and struggle. That is only true if your Will accurately reflects your life and what your family needs.
Being proactive about updates will make the probate process less daunting.
“A Will is never once and done,” says Marijane Cauthorn, managing partner for Cauthorn Nohr & Owen. “Life changes, and you don’t want to depend on an outdated document for something that is so important to your family’s well-being.”
The question is, when should your Will be updated?
A substantial change in your assets.
Any significant change in assets should prompt you to update your Will — selling a home, buying a second home, selling or passing down your business, receiving an inheritance or life insurance, or even if you win the lottery. For added complications, estate and other tax laws change frequently. It is important to pay close attention to the political landscape and how it may affect you and your estate planning.
A medical diagnosis or death in the family.
Life can come at you fast, and when an unexpected event occurs it is important to adjust accordingly. It’s not something you can plan for, but when things like health change, you need to look at the big picture. A failure to update your Will could result in someone else making these important decisions for you in court.
A change in your life status.
Getting married, having children, and any other changes to your life status requires an update to your Will. Especially when it comes to adult children — if they didn’t get a long while you were around, do you really think they will get along once you’re gone? Not likely.
“It’s important to identify all of the items that should be included in your Will, but also when it is necessary to make changes to your Will as well,” says Ms. Cauthorn. “You can make it easier for everyone involved by keeping your Will up to date.”