How Often Should You Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents?
4 Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents
It’s not a topic that many people like to think about, but updating your Will is an important part of life. Unfortunately, many people never update their Wills, which can lead to a lot of problems for the loved ones they leave behind. To avoid any issues coming about after your death, it’s important to update your Will to reflect major life events, including:
1. Changes in Marital Status
When you marry or divorce, you must update your Estate Planning Documents’ fiduciaries and beneficiaries to reflect these changes. For example, you may want to add your new spouse and their children and/or remove your late or ex-spouse as a beneficiary to your assets or as an Executor or Trustee. This also includes changes to your Living Will which names your Healthcare Representative, and your Power of Attorney, which names your financial agent in case you are unable to act for yourself due to illness or incapacity. Consult with your Estate Planning attorney to ensure your documents are up to date to reflect your wishes and adhere to legal decrees in any divorce agreement if applicable.
2. Having Children
As soon as you have children, you should update your Will to name a guardian for them in the event that neither you nor your partner can care for them. If you do not specify one in your Will, the courts will choose a guardian for your minor children.
You may also need to update your estate documents if you:
- Adopt a child
- Want to include a step-child after remarrying
- Have a child who passes away
- Wish to exclude a child from your Will
3. Acquiring or Losing Assets
A significant reason for estate planning is to transfer wealth to your loved ones after you pass. If you acquire new assets or lose a substantial amount of wealth, you likely will need to review your estate documents. For example, if your Will directs a large portion of your estate to go to charity, but you lose an asset, you may want to readjust your remaining asset allocation to ensure your beneficiaries receive a larger share.
4. Changes to Beneficiaries
If you decide to change your beneficiaries, visit your estate planning attorney to update your documents. You may want to change beneficiaries due to a death, marriage, divorce, or change in your personal relationship. A Trusts and Estate Planning attorney at FSKS can help you navigate the changes in your Estate Plan, such as updating your documents to include additional beneficiaries or creating new trusts to reflect changes to how you want to distribute your assets.
Work with a Skilled Will and Estate Planning Attorney at FSKS
It is vital to review your estate plan regularly to ensure it accurately reflects your life changes. At FSKS, we offer Trust and Estate planning services so you can update your documents any time a significant change occurs. Our team is here to help you gain peace of mind so that your assets will pass on to your designated loved ones according to your wishes. If you require assistance or have questions about updating your Estate Plan, don’t hesitate to contact James E. Shepard, Esq. (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jennifer L. Holowach, Esq. (email@example.com) at 973-538-4700.