It is common sense that every adult should create a will, However, far too many people create their will and then proceed to leave it sitting in a drawer or safe for years, gathering dust and potentially creating unseen problems.
Of course, having some form of a will is almost always better than having no will at all, because dying without a will hands the control of a person’s estate entirely to the government. The government then decides how the estate is divided, typically frustrating all the beneficiaries involved and drawing the process out for months or years longer than necessary.
Once you create your will, you should not simply set it and forget it. If you experience significant life changes after you make your will, the wishes you outline may be irrelevant by the time you pass away. In fact, it is always wise to review your will every four or five years, even if you do not experience significant life events. Estate planning laws may change without warning or much publicity.
Life events that justify amending your will
Your life may take many surprising turns after you create your will, so it is crucial to keep your bearings and look back over your wishes any time that a life event may affect them. Review your will and consider amending it if and when you experience:
- A marriage, remarriage or divorce
- The death of a spouse, child or other beneficiary
- The birth or adoption of a child, grandchild or other beneficiary
- A loss of assets or loss of significant income
- An increase in assets or income
- Broken or repaired relationships that alter your wishes
It is also important to examine the trustees, guardians and representatives that you list in your will. Often, these relationships change over time just like everything else, and the more quickly you address these changes, the better.
Create peace of mind today
Now that you understand just how many things may affect your will, you should not put off reviewing your will until a more convenient time. There is no guarantee that a more convenient time will ever occur, and if there is trouble ahead, now may be the best time you’ve have to review your will and ensure that your wishes are clearly established.
Crating a lasting legacy is not easy, which is why so few people take the time to make a mark that outlives them. Make sure that you use excellent legal tools and guidance to create a will that reflects your values and protects them for years to come.