For most people, a Last Will and Testament serves as the foundation for their initial estate plan. Your Will can be used to distribute some or all your estate assets after your death as well as to decide who will oversee the administration of your estate during probate. While executing an initial Will is a crucial step in creating a comprehensive estate plan, updating that Will is equally important. A Murfreesboro Will lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby explains when and why you need to update your Last Will and Testament.
Routine Review of Your Will
Just like you review insurance policies for your vehicles or home every few years, you should conduct a routine review of your Will as well. Most estate planning attorneys suggest a more frequent review of your Will during your younger years because changes are more likely to be necessary during the years that your family and your assets change and grow. Scheduling a review every three to five years up to around age 50 is a good rule of thumb. After that, a review every five to eight years is suggested.
Reasons for an Immediate Update of Your Will
Along with making sure you schedule a routine review of your Will every few years, there are certain life events that are call for a more immediate update of your Will. Some common life events that should prompt you to immediately review and update your Will include:
- Marriage. When you marry, you will likely want to include your new spouse as a beneficiary in your Will. The marriage of a child is also something that could trigger a review because your son/daughter-in-law could now stand to gain control over the inheritance you plan to leave your child. That, in turn, may prompt you to remove direct gifts in your Will and set up a trust instead.
- Divorce. People frequently forget to make changes to their estate plan after a divorce because they are focused on the emotionally and financial fallout from the divorce itself. Failing to update your Will after your divorce, however, could result in an ex-spouse as the Executor of your estate and/or a beneficiary of your estate assets.
- Birth or death of beneficiaries. The death or birth of a beneficiary should prompt a review your plan because you may need to change your distribution plan. Although I well drafted Will should account for the death of a beneficiary as well as the birth of future children/grandchildren, it is always best to revise your Will following a birth or death to ensure that it reflects your wishes and that all beneficiaries are easily identified.
- Change in Executor. If your designated Executor dies, becomes incapacitated, or is otherwise likely to be unavailable to serve, you should revise your Will immediately to appoint a new Executor.
- All your children reach the age of majority. When your children were minors, you had to protect your children’s inheritance because they could not inherit directly from your estate; however, once all your children are legal adults, you have the option to gift directly to them. As such, you may now wish to make direct gifts in your Will.
- Significant change in assets. Minor changes should already be accounted for in your Will; however, if your asset picture changes significantly you may wish to sit down and review your Will to determine if you need to make any corresponding changes to the gifts you made in your Will.
- Move to a different state/country. State law governs the execution and probate of a Last Will and Testament. With that in mind, moving to a new state (or country) should prompt you to consult with a Will lawyer to make sure your Will complies with the relevant state laws.
Contact a Murfreesboro Will Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about updating your Last Will and Testament, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro Will lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.