When life changes, it is time to change your Last Will and Testament. If you don’t change your Will at the proper time, some loved ones may not receive an inheritance, your Will may become invalid, or your estate may be affected by taxes.
You should review your estate plan every one or two years and you should make changes anytime any of the following situations arise:
Marriage or Divorce
When you get married, it is important to include your spouse in your Will. If you have a Will and don’t include your spouse, then he or she may be disinherited. Also, if you get divorced, updating your will and estate plan allows you to reposition your bequests to your intended beneficiaries.
Are you planning an out-of-state move, or have you just arrived in this state? If so, it is time to review your estate plan and find out how your new state’s laws will affect your Will. If you pass away with a Last Will and Testament that does not meet state laws, your Will may be deemed invalid and your estate could be settled based upon intestacy laws rather than your final wishes.
New or Deceased Beneficiaries
When you bring a new loved one into your family, don’t forget to include him or her in your Will. You should also update your Will anytime a beneficiary passes away. If you don’t, there could be confusion during probate.
Buying or Selling Property
Any change in property should be noted in your Will. Every time you sell a piece of property, you should remove it from your Will and reallocate bequests among your beneficiaries. You should also make certain to include new property in your Will as soon as possible. If you pass away without a piece of property listed, your loved ones may face issues in probate as the heir of that property is determined by the probate court.
As your assets fluctuate throughout your life, your net worth may also. Every time you review your Will, estimate your Net Worth. Once your estate holdings reach the estate tax exemption level it may be time for a more in-depth version of planning that allows for estate tax relief and asset protection.