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When should you update your Will?

One of the basic documents that can be crucial in estate planning is a will. Wills allow a person to express his or wishes for how property and other assets should be distributed after death. 

Preparing your will can be difficult; it may be uncomfortable to make these types of plans and it can be a complicated legal process that ends up overwhelming people. However, those who have a will in place know that it can be a great source of relief to know that your wishes are expressed and your loved ones will be taken care of. However, updating your will can be essential in making sure the terms and allowances stay relevant over time. 

But many people have questions about when they should update their will. Is it every 10 years? Should you only do it if you've suffered a serious injury or illness? How often should updates be made?

There are a number of events that may prompt a person to consider updating a will. In the first draft of this document, asset distribution is addressed and representatives or guardians can be assigned. In general, if an event affects these terms, a will should be updated.

Some of the most common times that people update wills are:

  • After having a child
  • After getting married or divorced
  • After a loved one passes away
  • If assets significantly increase or decrease
  • When children become adults
  • If grandchildren are born

These and other significant events could change the original intent of a will, which is why it can be crucial to update this document. Deciding if, when and how to make changes to a will can be confusing, but working with an attorney can help you understand your options.

Taking the steps to prepare a will can be very beneficial for you and your loved ones. But if a will is outdated and does not reflect current familial or financial situations, it may not be as helpful as it could have been. Updating your will is a great way to be sure that it continues to reflect your wishes as they change over time.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Wills: An Overview," accessed on Sept. 19, 2014

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