Once you create your will, it is easy to let the document sit in a drawer or safe for years. While it is always better to have a will than not to have one, there are many ways that an outdated will can cause complications after you pass away.
Any time that you experience a significant life change, it may impact your wishes for your estate, so it is wise to look over your will to identify potential complications. If your will does create conflicts after you pass away, this may delay distribution of your estate, and may even drain your resources while your beneficiaries wait. Amending your will at the right time keeps these complications from affecting your loved ones.
Many events justify reviewing your will
Many of the things we experience throughout our lives may come with their own share of joy, grief or shock, often distracting us from important tasks that are not obvious. A number of life events may complicate estate planning involving your family and loved ones, such as:
- Your own marriage or divorce
- The marriage or divorce of your children or grandchildren
- The death of a spouse, family member or beneficiary
- The birth of a child or a grandchild
- Adoption or emancipation of a child
Each of these events may bring additional beneficiaries, or may remove them. If you do not update your will so that it reflects these changes when you experience them, it may take a long time to carry out your wishes. Also, the individuals to whom you actually want to leave your estate may not receive it.
It is also possible that your estate or income may change significantly throughout your lifetime, and it is ideal for your will to represent your wishes for your estate in its current form. If you gain a new piece of real estate, for instance, and do not include it in your will, it will complicate the division of your property.
Review your will now for greater peace of mind
Even if you have not experienced any of these life events since you created your will, you may still need to review your will and amend it. It is wise to review your will about every four years, regardless of what you experience personally. This is because the laws that affect wills and estate planning may change without your knowledge, and these changes may have a serious impact on how you lay out your wishes, especially if you use any other estate planning tools.
Reviewing your will is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you are doing your part to take care of your own affairs as well as your loved ones’ needs. Make it a priority to review your will any time that you face a significant life event, for the sake of your loved ones and to keep your wishes secure.