Creating a will is one of the most important steps you can take in your adult life, offering your loved ones and beneficiaries clear understanding of your wishes for your property and your legacy. Once you create your will, you may feel some relief, but it is important to understand that your will requires occasional maintenance in order to remain effective.
Several significant life events may change your wishes or complicate your will, so it is important to update the will document when you encounter these changes. While having your will in place is certainly better than having no will properly written, updates help protect your rights in Florida and keep your wishes clear.
Changing families and dependents
Most people create a will when they start their own family, if they have not created one already. However, families tend to change over time, and these changes may each affect a will. You should take time to review your will if your family grows or shrinks, or if your intentions for distributing your property to family members change.
This may include:
- Death of a spouse
- Death of a dependent
- Adoption of a dependent
- Marriage or divorce of a child or dependent
If you experience any of these changes after creating your will, it is wise to revisit the document, especially where it concerns your own marriage. The law views marriage similarly to a business contract, and a spouse often has rights to property that conflict with your wishes.
Changes in your estate
The majority of your will tends to address how you wish to distribute your property when the time comes. Of course, if your estate grows or shrinks significantly after you write your will, it is simpler for your beneficiaries to interpret your will if the document reflects your estate closely.
It is wise to revisit your will any time that your net worth increases or decreases significantly, or any time that you gain or lose a significant asset, such as a piece of real estate.
Even if you do not encounter any of these life events, it is still a good idea to review your will every four or five years. In some cases, estate planning laws that affect your will may change without your knowledge, and occasional regular maintenance offers you an opportunity to look back over your wishes and make sure that they are compatible with changes in estate planning law.
Protecting your rights and making your wishes clear to your loved ones is a great privilege and also a great responsibility. With simple, regular maintenance, you can keep yourself secure and ensure that your legacy remains safe along the way.