It is a huge risk to neglect creating a will, but it is also a problem if you think you can just “set it and forget it.”
Your estate plans, and your will in particular, should be treated as a living document that you update and change as the circumstances of your life change. If you create a will but you never update it, it may be completely irrelevant by the time your personal representative actually has to administer your estate, and he or she may no longer have the legal foundation needed to carry out your final wishes.
There is no standard for exactly how often you should update your will since it depends on life events and your own personal actions, but it would be a good idea to least come back to it and review it to make sure it is still accurate every few years.
Below we’ve detailed six specific situations in life where you should immediately update your will.
Few people actually create a will before they get married, but if you have a will in place you will want to update it to reflect your marriage so that your spouse will be provided for if anything ever happens to you. You will especially want to make sure your will is in order and updated if you are entering into a second or third marriage and if there is a prenuptial agreement that must be provided for.
2) New baby
If you have a child, you need to update your will to include them. Do the same for each subsequent child as well. You will want to ensure that your kids are taken care of just like your spouse.
As opposed to adding people who are coming into your life to your will, as you do with a marriage or birth, you will probably want to remove certain people from your will following a divorce. If you don’t want your assets to go to your ex when you die, make sure you change your will as soon as possible after a divorce is finalized.
4) Death of beneficiary
If someone you have named as beneficiary in your will passes away, you need to update your will to reflect that your assets will not go to that person. Otherwise, your inheritance could end up going to someone else entirely than who you intended.
5) Major changes in assets
Buying a house? Just received an inheritance? Won the lottery? Or on the flip side, did you file for bankruptcy or foreclosure? Did you recently lose a lot of wealth? Major changes in your assets should be reflected in your will as they occur.
6) Falling out with executor
Hopefully when you created your will you named an personal representative with whom you are close and whom you fully trust to manage your affairs and see that your wishes are carried out. However, relationships can change, and you may not want that person to be your personal representative in the future. If your relationship with the personal representative you named in your will changes and you no longer want them to be your personal representative, you will need to update your will to reflect that change.
The Vazquez de Lara Law Group provides free analysis of will documents, so if you are unsure or have questions about your will and whether it needs to be updated, please give us a call today.