It’s essential to revisit your will, and indeed your entire estate plan, every three to five years and after significant life events. Failure to do so could easily lead to undesirable outcomes.
Your will is your most personal expression of how you want to distribute your property after you die. It’s your chance to align your wealth with your values and beliefs. A life event is a perfect time to update your will to accommodate new circumstances. Life evolves, and your will should evolve along with it. Here are some important life events that likely will require you to review your will.
Change in marital status. Many folks dictate a will when they first get married to provide for their new spouse. Should a divorce occur, your perspective on the disposition of your property will significantly change. A change to your marital status is definitely a life event where you should consider updating your will. Failing to do so makes it even more important to revise your will if you remarry, lest your former spouse inherits the property you want to go to your new one.
New legislation is passed. Every now and then Congress will pass legislation that can derail the intentions of your will. Federal estate and gift tax exemptions change over time, as can state inheritance tax. Tax laws can be complicated, so it’s best to consult with a trusted tax advisor for the most current changes that pertain to you.
Life events for your children. It’s time to revisit your will when a child graduates college, gets married or has a child. All these events reflect a new reality that almost surely requires you to bring your will up to date. For example, just because your child didn’t opt for a prenuptial agreement is no reason you can’t create trusts and/or post-nuptial requirements in your will to mitigate against a marriage that doesn’t work out. You may also want to reconsider how you distribute your wealth if and when grandchildren arrive, possibly through a generation-skipping trust laid out in your will.
Your ship comes in. When you began climbing your career ladder, the will you created might now be too simplistic to handle the complex finances that can accompany wealth accumulation. Your will may need to cover many new topics, including a family office, charitable trusts and foundations, disposition of complicated assets, estate plans, and even the fate of your business.
Timing is critical. Procrastination is dangerous where your will is concerned. Acting too late may result in inappropriate or even invalid changes, undesired outcomes, and hurt feelings. Contact me today and we can review your current financial situation and determine if there were any significant changes that may require a revision to your will. It’s an obligation simply too important to postpone.