A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets and possessions will get distributed after you pass away. For most people, creating a will is the first step in the estate planning process.
Life is ever-changing, and as a result, your will should reflect these changes. When certain life events happen or your circumstances change, you should take an additional look at your will.
Major life events
According to CNBC, approximately 67% of Americans do not have a will, but if you have already created this document, you should make sure to update it when life changes. These events might include getting married, divorced, having children or the death of a loved one. When your family structure changes, update your will to ensure that your assets get distributed according to your current wishes.
As life progresses, your relationships with loved ones may change. You may become closer to some family members while growing apart from others. In such cases, you might want to adjust your will to accurately reflect your current relationships and ensure your assets get distributed in a way that complements what you want.
Acquiring new assets
If you acquire new assets, such as a home, a business or investments, update your will. This ensures that these assets get included in your will and those in charge of your estate distribute them according to your wishes. If you fail to update your will in this situation, these new assets may not go to the beneficiaries you intend.
Financial changes, such as increases or decreases in your wealth, can also warrant a will update. Adjusting the distribution of your assets according to your current financial situation can ensure the stipulations in your estate align with your wishes.
Make sure that you look at your will frequently, outside of major life events, to ensure it continues to reflect your desires. A general guideline is to review your will on an annual basis.