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Changing Your Will as Your Life Changes

Changing Your Will as Your Life Changes

February 07, 2022
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Changing Your Will

When and How to Make Amendments
to Your Estate Plans

Discussing your final wishes and estate plans can feel uncomfortable but leaving your family with a clear and current plan in the event of your passing can make an already difficult time a little less stressful. Preparing your will is a great start, but in order for your estate plan to be effective, it’s important to keep your plans up to date to reflect the latest life changes and your final wishes. Without an updated will, your loved ones may find significant omissions and irrelevant instructions in your will, leaving them to navigate difficult decisions and potentially complicated legal issues. Knowing how often and under what circumstances you should update your will and understanding your options for making those changes can make sure your family is provided for when the time comes.

When to Review Your Estate Plan

The most effective estate plan is one that is updated regularly. Life’s circumstances are constantly changing, and you might not consider the impact those circumstances will have on your will. For this reason, you should review your estate plan every 3 to 5 years to make sure its contents reflect your current circumstances and wishes. In addition to regularly reviewing your will, you should also make it a habit to review your will after any major life event.

When to Change Your Will

When you conduct regular reviews of your will, you might find outdated or irrelevant information. This information should be changed to avoid any potential issues and to avoid having a will that doesn’t accurately reflect your wishes. Here are some examples of circumstances that generally necessitate updating your will:

  1. Marriage or divorce, including yourself or the marriage or divorce of your beneficiaries
  2. Name changes (which may be due to marriage or divorce), including name changes of beneficiaries, heirs, your executor or you and your spouse
  3. Making specific changes to beneficiaries, overall estate plans or planned charitable contributions
  4. Changing the person(s) you’ve named as your executor
  5. A significant change in the value of your estate
  6. The birth of a new child or grandchild
  7. The death of someone named in your will or involved in the execution of your will
  8. Significant conflict between or among family members and/or other beneficiaries
  9. Moving to a new state or out of the country, as different tax laws may apply
  10. Changes in legislation regarding estate tax laws that may affect you and your plans

How to Make Changes to Your Will

When you need to make minor amendments to the contents of your will, you can prepare a codicil, which is an “add-on” to your existing will, and the two documents will be read as one, with the codicil’s contents superseding any conflicting content in the original will. To make sure your changes are legally valid and not open to interpretation or dispute, it’s always best to work with a professional to properly update your will.

Having an estate plan that is regularly reviewed and updated is one of the best things you can do for your family and loved ones. If you want help getting started on building an estate plan, or if you need advice for updating your existing plan, contact the office today. You and your family will be glad you did!

This material was developed and prepared by a third party for use by your Registered Representative. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information.