If you created your will and estate plan as a young parent, you may wonder when you might need to update it. Or you may have experienced some recent life changes that leave you thinking about updating your will and estate plan. Or you might have had recent life changes and didn’t realize how they affected your estate plan.
At certain points in your life, updating your will is a good idea. Some of the life changes that should prompt you to update your will include the following:
- If you get divorced or remarry. If you are now divorced, you likely named your ex as a beneficiary in your will. You may want to update that to ensure your assets go toward your children, your parents or a sibling. Or if you get remarried, you may want to name your new spouse as a beneficiary in your will or give specific assets to your children from your first marriage.
- One of your children struggles with substance abuse or isn’t good with money. You may want to not name your child as a beneficiary in your will, but instead set up a trust for them. With a trust, you can name a trustee to manage when your child receives money from their inheritance and how much they receive so you don’t enable their addiction or financial problems.
- Your children become old enough that you want one of them to become the executor of your estate.
- Your spouse passes away. You may want to reallocate assets to other beneficiaries if your spouse dies or you may want to give some of your assets to a charity to honor your spouse after your death.
- You have grandchildren and want to include them to receive specific assets in your will.
- You decide you want to change your living will to update your wishes for your end-of-life care.
- New York changes its estate tax laws and you want to update your will accordingly.
As you reach your golden years and retirement, you should consider updating your will about every five years. Your estate planning attorney can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that reflects your current wishes and gives you peace of mind for the future.