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When should I change my will?

Keeping your will up to date is of the utmost importance. Not only will it ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your death or incapacitation, but it will save your family from the grief of a probate battle. Whenever you have a significant life change, it can have ramifications for your end-of-life wishes, so you'll want to make sure that you change your will to reflect that.

Here are some of the most common reasons and times to alter your will:

 

  • Getting married. You may want to add your new spouse to the will or change the way your estate will be divided.
  • Getting a divorce. Likewise, when you split, you may want to remove your ex-spouse from the will.
  • Having a baby. When you welcome a new child to your family, you may want to change what he or she receives or set up a trust. You'll also want to appoint a guardian to take care of the child.
  • Losing or gaining new assets. If you win the lottery or get an inheritance, you'll want to decide where it will go and how it will be distributed. By the same token, if you lose a significant amount of wealth, it will need to be reflected in your will.

These are just a few of the reasons to make changes to your will. You can make changes anytime you'd like by drafting a new will and revoking the old one. For help doing this correctly, you may want to enlist the help of an estate planning attorney.

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