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5 life changes when you should update your will

You pride yourself on planning ahead and taking care of important financial matters. You do your best to be ready for the road ahead, so you completed your estate plan years ago, shortly after your last child was born. Yet, life changes and you may want to change your will and estate plan accordingly.

In the five following circumstances, you should revisit your will and estate plan with an estate planning attorney, to make sure you update it appropriately:

  1. You divorce or remarry. Most likely after a divorce, your ex-spouse still is a beneficiary in your will. You might want to change that. You also may want to add a new spouse to become a beneficiary when you remarry and specify what assets your children will receive. Otherwise, your new spouse could receive more assets than children from your first marriage will.
  2. One of your children develops a substance abuse problem. Sadly, substance abuse affects millions of American families. If your child has struggled with an addiction to drugs or alcohol for years, you may want to set up a trust for their inheritance. With a trust, you can appoint a trustee to oversee giving your child inheritance money only when the situation warrants it. You can work to avoid having your money go toward feeding your child’s addiction.
  3. You have grandchildren. When you have grandchildren, you may want to designate certain assets to them individually in your will.
  4. Your spouse or a beneficiary passes away. When your spouse or beneficiary passes away, you want to update your will to redistribute your assets among your other beneficiaries or give some toward a charitable organization in your loved one’s honor.
  5. Your estate executor passes away or one of your children reaches adulthood and you want to name them executor. You want to ensure you have a designated estate executor who is still living named in your will. Or if you want to make your adult child an executor, you need to update your will accordingly.

Keeping your will and estate plan up to date is important. You want your estate plan to reflect your current wishes. By updating your will with an estate planning attorney, you can ensure your family doesn’t have to stress about how to distribute your assets and settle your estate.