Having a will is an essential part of an estate plan. In doing so, you deserve applause for your foresight. After all, many Americans remain skittish about their mortality and fail to create an estate plan.
However, you must understand that an estate evolves. And with it, the estate plan also should evolve. When matters in your life change, it is important to update your will. Generally, a will should undergo revisions every three to five years.
A marriage, childbirth and divorce
A 2021 survey conducted by Gallup disclosed that just 46% of American adults have a will. Without one, the state decides what happens to your assets.
By having a will, you are several steps ahead of more than half of American adults. But understand that a will is not something that is a “one-and-done” matter. It needs a regular tune-up. There are many life events that should prompt you to change your will.
This list includes:
- A marriage or re-marriage
- The launch of a family business
- When you purchase a home
- The births of children
- Receipt of a significant windfall such as an inheritance or lottery winnings
- The death of a spouse, beneficiary or heir
- A divorce
- An out-of-state move (as many states have different laws pertaining to wills)
You do not want to have a will that creates more questions than answers. Make the changes when they are necessary.
Revisit and revise
Having your wishes in place in a will shows that you understand the importance of estate planning. But like many things in life, you must periodically revisit your estate plan. Whenever a major life event emerges, then it is time to update your will.