How Often Should You Review Your Will?
How Often Should You Review Your Will?
Thinking about your will can be an uncomfortable experience, as it requires you to imagine a time when you’ll no longer be around. Because of this, people sometimes put this task off as long as they can. And when they do have a will drawn up, they will go without updating it for several years.
This could lead to issues down the road, as life changes quickly, and your will can become irrelevant over time. Your will is an essential piece of your estate plan, and therefore should be re-visited regularly, especially during big life events. To help you stay on top of your estate plan, here are a few times to consider when reviewing your will.
A Marriage or Divorce
It should come as no surprise that marriage or divorce can change your will dramatically. You should, of course, make sure to review and change your will based on either. However, the timing of an update to your will is especially important if you’re considering divorce.
Consider changing your will before you file, as you cannot change your will during the divorce proceedings. To avoid any issues, you may want to discuss your will with a professional when you are thinking about getting a divorce—not after you have already begun the paperwork—so that if you pass away before your divorce is final, your will has already been changed and your spouse will not automatically receive a portion of your assets.
Another element of a will that many do not consider is their beneficiaries’ marital status. If your children get married or divorced, for example, you will want to update your will to reflect that change.
Your estate plan could change depending on new legislation passed by congress. These changes typically happen every few years. To identify any areas that may need to change, you will want to review your will with your financial advisor or an attorney.
A Beneficiary’s Birth or Death
The birth of a child is often when people begin to think about creating a will. Your primary goal is to name a guardian for your child in the event of your death. But, you will also want to consider who you will name as the trustee for any trust that you might set up for that child’s future. As with any decision in your will, you will want to choose a person who you know you can trust and is up to the responsibility.
If a beneficiary passes away, it’s essential that you revisit your will so that you can direct those assets to someone else. You may have created contingency plans within your original will so that if a beneficiary were to die, the funds intended for them would go to their children. Even still, you will likely want to review your will to ensure it is still aligned with your expectations.
A Large Change in Financial Status
Your will is created based on your finances at the time, but if your financial standing changes significantly, it’s time to revisit your will. If you receive a large inheritance, for example, you may want to consider changing your will to leave more to your beneficiaries or chosen charities.
An Annual Check-In
A lot can happen in a year. And no matter how small or large a change is, it can affect your will. Because of this, it’s crucial that you check your will annually to make sure that it continues to reflect your current life and future expectations. You may find it helpful to review your will with a financial professional so that you have someone who can guide you through the process.
Need Guidance on Your Estate Plan?
Southwestern Investment Group advisors are professionals in estate planning and can help to guide you through important decisions about your legacy. We view your financial plan as a comprehensive strategy, considering every piece, and making sure that we always keep your financial goals in mind. Ready to get started? Contact Southwestern Investment Group today to schedule a consultation!
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