Births, deaths, marriage, divorce. Chances are, if you live long enough you will go through several life events such as these. And if you have a will or have done estate planning, you will need to update your documents after each change.
So, what does this look like? And is it really necessary?
And if you want your wishes to be followed after your death – and you want to spare your surviving family members the pain and frustration of probate court problems – the answer is yes, you need to update your will after a life event.
But what life events constitute changing – or even completely overhauling – your will or revisiting your estate planning?
Anytime a new spouse is added to your family or your life, or if there is – unfortunately – a divorce, it’s a good idea to review and possibly update your will. In most wills, people designate where their assets will be distributed – most commonly to a spouse. But if that changes, you’ll need to designate who will be the heir of your money, property and life insurance after you pass away. A benefactor is the person who gives something of value to another. Outdated documents could result in the wrong people receiving your assets, leaving your intended heirs with possibly little recourse.
Even with a well-written will, probate court is a possibility.
If you are the proud parents of a new baby, congratulations! But now is the time to update your will or do some estate planning, so you can plan for that child’s future care and financial stability. Adding a new family member – either through birth or adoption – is always a good time to review your documents so you can plan and prepare.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your assets will be divided as you see fit between your spouse and your child or children. And if your children are young, a trust for them might be appropriate.
Grandchildren are such a blessing and as doting grandparents, you might want to help the offspring of your offspring with money for education or other expenses. So, if you are enjoying being a grandparent, consider updating your will to make allowances for that.
Death is inevitable and when it hits your family, updating your will is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it is probably one of the most crucial times to make sure your will is current.
Whether it’s the death of a spouse, a child or another heir, it’s always a good idea to revise your will to reflect your new family situation.
Also, if the person named as guardian to your child or children passes away, you’ll need to update that as soon as possible as well.