Once you’ve drafted your will, you may put it aside without giving it second thought. Yet, as life changes, it cannot remain untouched. To protect your estate, it’s important to update your will as needed while you’re living.
When you need to update your will
Not every life change merits a revision of your will. But when major changes happen, you must update it to reflect them. These events include:
- Marriage or remarriage
- The death of your spouse or a beneficiary
- The birth of a child or grandchild
- Significant changes to your financial circumstances
- Changes in the circumstances of your beneficiaries
- Changes in tax laws
- Moving states
Whether these events happen or not, it’s wise to review your will every few years. Doing so will allow you to make sure its provisions reflect your current intentions.
How to update your will
When you update your will, you have two ways of doing so. You may want to keep the original document intact. Yet, you may have bought or sold a significant piece of property. Or, you might need to add a beneficiary, account for a beneficiary’s name change or replace your executor. In these cases, you will file a codicil, which attaches to your will and accounts for these changes. Upon signing it, you will need two witnesses present to attest to your action. But in most circumstances where people want or need to change their will, they revoke it and create a new one. And you’ll most likely find starting over much easier than filing a codicil.
By revising your will, you can make sure it reflects your current circumstances. If you need to do so, an attorney with estate planning experience can guide you through the process.