Things are constantly changing in your life. Fr that reason, you may need to take the time to re-evaluate your will and overall estate plan every once in a while. This is particularly true at certain points in your life when circumstances may change. Below are four reasons you may want to consider making changes to your existing will:
Reason #1: You Get Hitched
Some people tend to think that once they get married that their spouse will automatically become their heir and inherit everything they own when they die. However, this is not necessarily the case. Therefore, it is important that you create a will that outlines that you want to leave all of your property to your spouse once you pass away. Just keep in mind that you are unable to disinherit your spouse unless you have his or her consent to do so.
Reason #2: You Have Children
When you have children, your main concern is how your children will be cared for when you and your spouse both pass away. You will want to outline in your will a person who will be their guardian as well as someone (who could be the same individual) who can manage your children's inheritance for them until they become adults.
Reason #3: You Get a Divorce
When you get divorced, you need to make sure that you take a very close look at your will. Because people are leaving your life, you are going to need to take people out of your will instead of adding people to it as you have done with the previously-mentioned reasons. It may be easier to craft a whole new will altogether. Depending on the state that you live in, the divorce will revoke your will, resulting in the requirement of a new will.
Make sure that you pay close attention to your main trustee or beneficiary, who was likely your former spouse. You will also want to look at the durable power of attorney, as this also was probably your former spouse. Don't forget to also change your beneficiaries on your IRA, pensions and life insurance policy.
Reason #4: You Move to a Different State
If you decide to move to another state due to a new job or simply due to retirement, it is very important that you become familiar with your new state's laws and how they may impact your estate plan. You may need to make adjustments to your will and other estate planning documents. In this case, the best thing you can do is to consult with a probate lawyer in your new state who is familiar with the laws and can offer expert guidance.