Know When to Revise Your Will & Estate Plan
Writing a will is not a one-time event. Life is full of changes, and it is very likely that you will need to modify your will to account for these changes. It is recommended to review your will every five years to make sure it still reflects your wishes. Anything from changes in your family to changes in state law can influence your will and other estate planning documents.
Reviewing and updating estate plans tends to be one of those tasks that gets put at the bottom of the priority list. However, ensuring your estate plan accurately describes your wishes is not something you want to put off for too long. Failure to do so can lead to inaccuracies, outdated beneficiary designations, missed opportunities, and negative tax consequences.
Reasons to Assess Your Will For Any Needed Modifications
Your will describes how your assets are distributed to heirs upon your death. It can also name a guardian for your children which will go into effect if you and your child’s other parent pass away while your children are still minors. Writing a will is crucial, but keeping the will updated is just as important.
Examples of situations in which you may need to modify or update your will include:
- Changes in Your Family – If you have had a significant change in your family, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of children or grandchildren, you should update your will to reflect these changes.
- Changes in Your Personal & Financial Situations – Have you received a large inheritance? Or, do you own a business? There could be multiple scenarios in which your financial situation has changed, and your will should reflect that.
- Death of Beneficiaries – If a beneficiary passes away, you will need to update your will to reflect this. Make sure you always have a primary and contingent beneficiary.
- Beneficiary Concerns – If your beneficiary develops a gambling or substance abuse problem, becomes incarcerated, or experiences other major problems, this may change how you distribute assets to this person. For example, you may decide to give the beneficiary assets through a trust instead of a will so a third party can oversee the distribution of funds.
- Changes in State Laws – State laws can change frequently and significantly affect how your estate is distributed. It is important to stay on top of these changes so you know if they will affect your will.
By keeping your will and estate plan up to date, you can ensure that your wishes are followed when the time comes. It is important to regularly review your will and make any necessary updates to keep it in compliance with the law and reflect your current wishes.
Call Us for Help
Your will must be periodically reviewed and updated to protect your estate and ensure your final wishes are followed. If you need help creating or updating your will, contact our office today for assistance. Our Naperville estate planning lawyers can provide support and guidance based on years of experience. Call the Gierach Law Firm at 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation.
Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.