If you have already prepared a will, then you are ahead of the game. But, how long ago was this document drafted? Do you remember what your exact wishes were when you had it prepared? While many people think that drawing up a will is a one-time task, this isn’t how estate-planning tools should be used. Life is unpredictable, and our relationships and preferences can change over time. If your will was written some years ago, it is crucial to inspect your copy and ensure its contents still reflect your wishes.
4 Reasons Attorneys Encourage Clients to Review their Wills
Relationships change. Family dynamics and romantic relationships can change considerably over the years. Perhaps your once-favorite niece rarely contacts you anymore or you rekindled a close friendship with a college buddy in recent years. A second marriage may have brought wonderful new people into your life. Maybe one of your beneficiaries has passed away. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren may have been born, who are not listed in your will. If a child or other family member has reached the age of majority (18 in most states), you may wish to consider revising certain bequests or naming them as executors. Although double-checking your estate planning documents probably isn’t at the forefront of your mind in these scenarios, it is recommended that you review your will following significant changes in your family and personal life.
Assets change. If your estate has experienced a substantial increase or decrease in value, it’s important to take a careful look at your estate plan. Are there tax consequences associated with your existing will? Do you want a charity to benefit from your newly acquired wealth? Maybe you bought or sold a major asset, such as a home, or you started a new business. Perhaps you have acquired a new, sentimentally valuable belonging that you know a certain loved one will cherish. Even if the changes to your estate are small, you may wish to change how your assets are dispersed.
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