Estate planners may understand the value of having a will but should also understand the importance of knowing when to change a will. Estate planners may ask the question when they should change their will and it is helpful for them to be familiar with the different circumstances that can necessitate a change.
When is it time to change a will?
It can be time to change a will under several different circumstances including:
- Marriage: following a marriage both spouses should update their wills. A will allows each spouse to designate the distribution of their property and assets and may be different than the percentage portion of their estate state laws would otherwise award.
- Divorce: it is important to update a will following divorce if the estate planner included their former spouse in their will and no longer wishes for the former spouse to be a named beneficiary in their will.
- New baby or step child: once a new baby is born, or if the estate planner has a step child or adopted child they want to include in their will, the will should be updated to include the baby or child as a beneficiary.
- Change of beneficiary or assets: if the estate planner’s wishes for who is named as a beneficiary changes, or the estate planner’s assets change, it is a good idea to include those changes in an updated will.
There are other circumstances, such as domestic partnerships or a relocation to a different state, that may cause the estate planner to want to change their will. Estate planners should also ensure that their will is consistent with state laws, including estate planning or any relevant family laws, in their state. A will is an important part of the estate planning process but it can also change as the estate planner’s life changes which is why estate planners should be familiar with when they should consider changing their will.