When Should I Update My Will?

You may think once you’ve written a Will and have it in a safe place, you don’t need to update it further. But as we all know, things change, life happens, and we can’t plan for everything, so you should review your Will after experiencing any major life event.

Even if nothing major has happened, as a general rule of thumb, we suggest you go over your Will every four or five years. This will help ensure that your family and assets are protected and your final wishes are carried out how you intended. We have provided a handful of reasons for you to update or make a new Will.

Relationship Changes

Whether it is a wedding, divorce, or death of a partner, these are all reasons to update the beneficiaries in your Will, durable financial power of attorney, and medical power of attorney. In the event of a divorce, if you don’t want your ex-spouse or in-laws to receive anything from your estate, you must update your Will, removing their names to ensure they do not receive any of your assets or estate.

Couple playing with daughter in woods

New Children

At the birth or adoption of a new child, you must name them in your Will according to your wishes. Also, stepchildren are not entitled to any property under the law, so if you want to leave them anything, you must include them in your Will and add them as beneficiaries. If a child is left out of your Will when they believe they should receive an inheritance from your estate, they will have to challenge your Will in court to receive anything.

The same goes for grandchildren. By failing to name your grandchildren in your Will, they may contest your Will, claiming they are entitled to a share of your estate.

Death of an Executor or Beneficiary

If someone you named an executor or beneficiary to your Will passes away before you, you need to update your Will. If your spouse has passed away, changing your Will to reflect on their loss Will ensure you have control of how your estate will be divided among the other beneficiaries.

If a beneficiary dies before you, it is essential to make a new Will, especially if you have no other beneficiaries. And if an executor passes away before you, you no longer have someone to ensure your Will is carried out. So whether your executor has passed away or you no longer think they are suitable for the job, you will need to find another to name in your Will who can carry out the responsibilities of the executor.

Moving to Another State

Estate laws differ from state to state. For example, the number of witnesses required to make your Will legally valid. You’ll be able to avoid legal mistakes by reviewing and updating your Will every time you move across state lines.

Financial Gains or Losses

Finding yourself with an influx of wealth is always a great surprise, but it may shift you into a higher tax bracket, meaning you will pay estate taxes. With a more significant amount of money, you may want to change your beneficiaries and the amount you may have originally planned to leave them, or you may choose to now leave gifts to charity. It is common for people to create living trusts which allow them to provide for their family and avoid expenses and delays during probate.

While we all want to have financial gains, there are times we have financial losses. In these instances, you may decide to change your beneficiaries and what assets you were planning to leave for them.

Deteriorating Health

Getting diagnosed with a degenerative disease or terminal illness is scary and can drain your energy and mental clarity, making it essential to review your Will while you are still able to. Many worry about their family’s future when diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and preparing a Will ahead of time may ease that anxiety. You may want to change your Will or give away assets now, so they are not considered part of your estate later on.

Update Your Will With Our Experienced Estate Lawyers

In everyday life, we don’t often think about updating our Wills or even creating one, to begin with. And when you don’t know where to start, you may find yourself needing the help of an estate attorney.

ProvenLaw offers trust, estate, tax planning, probate and trust administration, and business succession planning in Utah. We have years of experience, skill, and knowledge needed to offer you peace of mind and clarity for you and your loved ones. We are here to ensure your last wishes are carried out and to secure the future of your estate.
We’re here to help. Let’s start talking with a free 30-minute consultation.