Wills may be the most important document we’ll ever write. The only common problem amongst Will drafters is that once we draft one, we will put it somewhere for safekeeping and never look at it again. This can be a big mistake.
A lot of things can change within a long span of 20 years, even 5 years or so. Our life, finances, assets may change. Loved ones leave and new family members join us. And so on. These sort of circumstances often demand us to update our Will.
Another problem that may occur is when your Will is written with the utmost proper planning, there is a chance that you do not have to update your Will for a long time. However, if you do not put any proper thought into making your Will, then you may be forced to change your Will every now and then.
Circumstances where rewriting is recommended:
- Marriage, separation, divorce or remarriage;
- Birth or adoption of a child;
- Death of a family member or other beneficiary;
- Change of beneficiary or the proportion of distribution;
- Death or inability to act of executor, trustee or guardian;
- Appointment of a new executor, trustee or guardian;
- Financial situation or the value of assets have changed;
- Charity relationships have changed;
- Size of the estate has changed significantly; and
- Changes of probate or tax laws that could affect your estate.
On the contrary, simple wills which do not have a lot of gifts and beneficiaries are the least likely that requires frequent updating.
However, in any case where you can’t find your Will, or if you agreed to have your lawyer hold onto your original Will and now refuses to deal with him/her, make sure you replace that with a new Will that explicitly states it will invalidate all prior Wills. This should be done as soon as possible as having 2 valid Wills can cause a serious problem to your beneficiaries.
To conclude, it is of utmost importance for you to have an updated will to safeguard the interest of your loved ones in the long run. It is always advisable to first consult a professional who is well versed in the matter of will preparation or a company offering such services, as this is to ensure that your will is in compliance with all the necessary statutory requirements.