Your estate plan is in the rearview mirror. Completed years ago, you are proud of the fact that you created a simple will that provides directives as to whom inherits your assets and personal belongings. You think that you can rest easy now.
But wait. Your life and financial circumstances have significantly changed since you created that will in the mid-1980s. Your assets have grown. Your family has grown. And now, as you have aged, you face major health challenges that require regular medical care and assistance. In reality, you should have revisited your will several years ago, but it is not too late. By having an up-to-date will, you are providing your family, heirs and beneficiaries peace of mind.
Divorce, remarriage, adult child as caregiver
It is not too late for anyone, even a senior citizen, to update their will. Many attorneys recommend reviewing and possibly updating a will every three to five years. An updated will may help you avoid bickering between beneficiaries. A contested will only cause animosity, heartache, hurt feelings and a lot more expense.
Here are certain instances in which you should consider updating your will:
- A divorce: A divorce likely does not change entire aspects within the will, so you may want to remove any financial obligations declared for your former spouse within the document.
- A remarriage: Second or multiple marriages are not uncommon, and, maybe, you have been with your latest spouse for decades but have not changed the will. Do so now. An updated will can provide for your spouse as well as help you fairly distribute assets to your children as well as stepchildren.
- Births of children and grandchildren: Maybe you have added children and grandchildren to your life, whether from a second marriage or first marriage. Providing for them is a good idea as you do not want to leave out anyone.
- Gaining a sizable inheritance: If your parent died and left you with significant assets that means your estate has significantly grown. It is important that you make the decisions as to who gets such assets.
- Deaths of beneficiaries: Sadly, you may outlive some of your chosen beneficiaries. When this happens, update the will.
- A child serving as primary caregiver: Perhaps while you are in the latter stages of your life, you need regular assistance. If one of your adult children serves in this role, you may want to provide them with additional assets.
It is a good idea to think about updating and revising your will. You and your heirs will be glad that you have done so.