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5 Scenarios When You Should Update Your Will

Life is a journey of unexpected twists and turns, and as we navigate various life stages, our circumstances, relationships, and financial situations may change. These changes often necessitate a revision of our wills to ensure our estate plans are up to date and our assets are distributed according to our current wishes upon our passing. Delve into the various scenarios when you should update your will to ensure you’re always one step ahead of anything life throws your way. 

After a Marriage or Divorce

When you enter a marriage, updating your will to include your spouse and delineate their share in your assets is critical. You may also want to consider adding any stepchildren that the marriage brings. Conversely, divorce necessitates removing your ex-spouse from the will, unless you want them to remain a beneficiary. It’s important to remember that laws vary by state. In some jurisdictions, a divorce automatically nullifies any provisions in favor of the ex-spouse, but making these changes explicit in your will is always safer.

Upon the Birth of a New Family Member

The joyous occasion of welcoming a new member into your family, whether it’s a child or grandchild, is a crucial time to review and update your will. You’ll likely want to ensure they’re included as a beneficiary. Additionally, if you’re the parent, you should designate a guardian who would be responsible for your child’s care in the event of your untimely death. This provides you with the opportunity to make decisions about your child’s future that reflect your personal values and wishes.

Following Significant Changes in Financial Status

Major shifts in your financial situation, such as receiving a large inheritance, selling a business, or even winning the lottery, can drastically alter the distribution of your estate. These changes may also affect your tax obligations. Therefore, revisiting your will and potentially adjusting the allocation of your assets are essential. This ensures your wealth is distributed according to your current financial landscape and personal preferences.

Before Moving to a Different State or Country

Relocating across state lines or to a different country can have significant implications for your estate planning. Legal requirements for wills vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another, with different areas implementing different rules surrounding witnesses, formalities, and even the types of wills recognized. Therefore, reviewing and updating your will accordingly before you move would be prudent. Engaging a lawyer familiar with the estate laws in your new location can be extremely helpful in ensuring your will remains valid and achieves your intended objectives.

Before Traveling for an Extended Period

One surprising scenario when you should update your will is prior to any lengthy vacations. Traveling, especially for an extended period, often prompts us to consider the what-ifs of life. It’s a good time to ensure your will is up to date and that it accurately reflects your current wishes. This isn’t just about worst-case scenarios; it’s about being responsible and ensuring that, if something were to happen to you during your travels, your estate would be handled according to your desires. You might want to review your choices for executors, guardians, and beneficiaries or reconsider the distribution of assets. Having peace of mind knowing everything is in order can make your journey far more enjoyable.

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About The Author
Kelly Schoessling
Kelly Schoessling
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