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When should you update your will?

Creating a will is not a one-time-only deal. This essential document must be current for it to best serve your wishes and benefit your family. However, how often should you review it to see if it requires modification?

The simple answer is to do so every one to three years depending on the complexity of your assets. But regardless of the time frame, you should always revise your will whenever there is a major change in the following areas of your life.

Family relationships

Your will reflects the relationships you have with your family and other beneficiaries. Various factors cause relationships to change over the years, sometimes within months. One of your children may marry, divorce or have a child. Another may pass away or be disowned from the family. Whatever happens, make sure your will states whom you currently want to give your assets to. Remember to consider other recipients, such as charities and schools, as their leadership and goals may change as well.

Health status

If you experience a sudden decline in health, revising your will is a must. You may not have considered medical concerns prior to this moment, so you need to talk to your lawyer about establishing a living will and/or durable medical power of attorney to address treatment and end-of-life decisions.

Financial conditions

The whole purpose of a will is to detail your desires for the distribution of your assets. As your assets change, so should your will. Examples of changes include:

  •        The acquisition or loss of property
  •        A raise or cut in income
  •        New insurance policies
  •        The creation of or investment in a business
  •        Bankruptcy
  •        A career change

Additionally, changes in your relationship and health undoubtedly will have an impact on your finances.

Estate taxes

Wills are proof that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. Changes in tax laws are inevitable, but knowing about them and how they affect your estate plans are not a guarantee. An experienced local estate planning attorney can help you modify your will to comply with updated tax regulations.

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