As an experienced estate planning attorney, I realize that creating a will can be one of the most important decisions you ever make when it comes to protecting your loved ones and their rights. A will is an extremely useful estate planning tool that allows you to ensure your most sincere wishes are carried out in the upon your death, helping you document your desires regarding your property and loved ones long before something ever happens to you.
Initially drafting your will is a great step and one that should be celebrated. What happens, however, when significant changes in your life take place? Should you re-evaluate your current estate plans or leave them as they are? Do you really need to revise your will, and if so, how often should you consider making changes?
Here are some basic factors to consider when questioning if it is appropriate or necessary to revise your current estate planning documents:
- Family changes or lifestyle changes – If there has been a recent change in your committed relationship, whether or not you are legally married, or you have recently become a parent or grandparent, it is wise to consider revising your will. Pay special attention to considerations for your life insurance and retirement assets, joint bank accounts, savings bonds, brokerage accounts, and any real estate in your name;
- New financial developments – Whether you have recently experienced an inheritance of some sort, are expecting to receive a reasonable sum of money from an impending business venture, or have been affected by a life-altering financial setback, any financial shift that impacts your current circumstances also has the power to affect your future standing as well. Financial changes provide good reason to sit down with your attorney and reassess your current estate plans to determine which revisions are necessary; and
- Health concerns – Maybe you have recently received some devastating news regarding a terminal illness, or maybe you have discovered you have a disease that has the power to alter your quality of life in the years to come. Whatever your situation, if you have recently experienced any serious change in your health or a particular development that will affect your well-being in some way, it is time to look over your estate documents and consider revising your plans to reflect these new developments.
Along with revising your will, it is a good idea to ensure you have the proper power of attorney documents in place, especially under any of these circumstances. A power of attorney will allow you to designate an agent of your choice to handle your finances and possessions on your behalf, should you no longer be able to manage your own affairs.
As you begin to explore the need for revisions to your will and other estate planning documents, speak with an experienced Naperville estate planning attorney. Attorney Denice Gierach has been helping clients secure their families’ future for more than three decades. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule an appointment at our office today.