Creating a will isn’t something that most people consider a fun activity. In fact, many people avoid working on an estate plan because they don’t want to think about the inevitable happening. When you do get around to making a will, it is tempting to get everything taken care of and then put it all away and forget about it. This isn’t a good thing to do. You must revisit you will periodically.
Review it at least once per year
You should review your will once per year, even if your circumstances don’t change. This gives you the chance to make sure that people you have listed as heirs, beneficiaries and personal representatives are still alive. You should be sure they are still the people you want listed.
Pick a specific day that you will review the will each year. The day after your birthday, income tax deadline or another day of significance are some suggestions. Check other important designations when you review your will. These include the beneficiary of life insurance policies, the person who is payable on death for financial accounts and the people designated as powers of attorney.
Update it when your family structure changes
You may need to change your estate plan if you get married or divorced. Having a new baby, adopting a child, having a child become an adult, and similar situation also signal the need to update your will. A change that has to do with a minor child requires that you check the guardianship designation. Make sure that your estate plan clearly states your wishes for your minor children.
The death of your spouse is another reason to update your will. Updating your will when you have new grandchildren might be necessary if you have provisions for grandchildren in the documents.
Revisit it if your financial situation changes
Your estate plan might need an update if you have significant changes in your financial situation. Negative and positive changes can meet this requirement. Updating your will if you acquire or get rid of real estate, retirement accounts, investments and other assets helps your heirs to know exactly how to handle your estate when you die.
It is always best to double check your estate plan with any major financial shakeup. This is the only way that you can make sure everything in the will or other estate planning documents and structures are up to date.