By: Kailey Boraas, CTFA | Trust Officer
As life twists and turns and as we experience new highs and lows our end of life plans aren’t as quick to update, and often can get left behind as life is quickly moving forward. As great as your initial will might have been, think to yourself if you’ve had any major life changes in the last five years, or what the next five years hold for you – I bet there are significant changes on either side. So, when is it necessary to update our old wills?
If you had a will prior to being married, it’s a good idea to update to include your spouse, if you chose to. If you were to die with a prior will after getting married, the courts would go off your initial will, which may not include your spouse. Updating ensures all are taken care of.
Having a child
Whether you’re adopting, growing your family, adopting additional children, or creating a blended family with marriage, all are good reasons to sit down and update your will. Within your will you appoint a guardian for your child, otherwise, the courts will need to decide who will care for your child(ren) in the event of your passing without a will. Not something you want to leave up to someone else.
Children Growing Up
Once your children leave the nest it’s also a good time to revisit the will you had in place for when they were minors. They no longer need a guardian appointed, instead, you can think of how you might wish to leave assets to them upon your passing. If they can handle the gifts outright, or if there should be extra precautions taken. The same goes for updating your will when a child with disabilities is of legal age, new decisions need to be made to ensure they are taken care of for when you are no longer able to do so.
Divorce is hard enough, don’t leave your family to fight an old and outdated will that names the wrong beneficiary upon your passing. If your ex-spouse is named in your will then you are still leaving your assets to them, regardless if you are no longer married.
There are a handful of other life events in which you’ll want to look at revising your will, such as moving to a new state or major changes to your assets. The four listed above are a good starting point to get your brain thinking of times when revising your will is a good idea for you and your family to visit with your estate planning attorney for updates.