Creating a will that serves your purposes is not always a simple task. Conventional wisdom indicates that all legal adults should create a will, but a surprisingly high number of people simply never get around to it, even those with very high net worth or complicated assets. If you have a will already, this is an important step, but it is wise to carefully scrutinize your will for any weaknesses that may lead to challenges or conflicts later on.
If you have not reviewed the provisions of your will within the last four years, or since experiencing significant life events, your will is possibly more vulnerable to complications than you realize. Do not pass by this opportunity to protect the clarity of your wishes and ensure that your rights and preferences remain secure with proper attention to detail.
Life events that require revisiting your will
You may encounter many significant events throughout your lifetime that make it necessary to review your will, and possibly amend it. Depending on your own experiences, these may include:
- Getting married, divorced or remarried
- Death of a spouse
- Death of a beneficiary, or addition of a beneficiary through birth, adoption or preference
- Marriage, divorce, remarriage or death of one of your beneficiaries
- Significant increases in your assets or income
- Significant decreases in your assets or income
- Relationship complications that may affect your wishes
Changes in the law
Both wills and trusts provide important protections for individuals who use them because they operate inside the bounds of estate planning and taxation laws. However, these laws change with regularity, and they may change without you hearing about it on the news or receiving any specific notification.
If you do not experience any specific life events that might encourage you to review your estate planning documents within a span of about four years, it is wise to sit down to review the will in light of potential changes in the law that you missed.
If you do not take time to do this, then your executor or trustee may have difficulty following your wishes when the time comes. It is always wise to make sure that each piece of your estate plan receives careful, regular attention, to strengthen its efficacy and keep your rights and priorities protected with the strength of the law.
If the last time that you reviewed your will was more than four years ago, or if you believe that your life experiences may affect your existing will, be sure to look it over carefully through the eyes of the law as soon as possible.