If you’ve already created a last will and testament, there are certain times when you will want to go back and review the document to determine if any changes are necessary. If you decide to make changes to your will, you can do so by either creating a completely new will or by adding what is known as a codicil. Because laws that govern last wills and testaments differ between states, you should always consult an attorney if you believe you need to make a change to your will.
As long as you remain of sound mind, you can make changes to your will at any time. However, major life events that affect your family or beneficiaries typically require you to at least review your will, if not change it entirely. For example, if you created a will while you were single, you should typically change the terms of your will if you get married. Similarly, if you are married and subsequently become divorced or get remarried, it’s often best to review your will and change it to reflect your new marital situation.
In addition to a change in marital status, having a child or adopting a child should also prompt you to revise your will. In general, you are under no obligation to leave anything to your children, but if you create a will before you have a child and do not subsequently revise it, this may lead to problems in the probate process.
Other situations that may prompt you to review your will include a significant change in the amount of assets you own, the death of a potential heir or beneficiary, the death or incapacitation of the person whom you intended as a guardian or executor, or if more than five years have passed since you last reviewed the document.