reasons to update your will

8 Reasons to Update Your Will

When was the last time you updated your will? There are plenty of reasons to update your will, the number one reason being that your estate plan should always reflect your current wishes. At Phelps LaClair, we understand the importance of keeping estate plans up-to-date. Regularly updating your will, especially after significant life changes, can help guarantee that your final wishes are met.

How Often Should You Update Your Will?

It’s a good idea to review your will every three to five years, even if you don’t plan to make any changes. You should also update your will immediately after experiencing a major life event. The best way to update your will is to contact an estate planning professional who will help make your will valid according to Arizona’s estate planning laws

Eight Reasons to Update Your Will

1. Welcoming a New Child

Whether you give birth, adopt, become a step-parent or a grandparent, providing for the children in your life even after you’re gone will protect their future. You should name your children or grandchildren in your will as soon as possible to ensure they receive the guardianship and assets you desire. 

2. Marriage or Divorce

Marriage and divorce are both significant reasons to update your will. Keep in mind that if you get divorced, your ex-spouse and step-children will not be entitled to any of your assets. If you would like them to remain beneficiaries, you must name them in your will. 

3. The Death of a Beneficiary

If your beneficiary dies before you do, you’ll have to decide who will receive those assets instead. Including a secondary beneficiary in your will ahead of time makes this situation a little easier. In the event that the primary beneficiary dies or disclaims the inheritance, the secondary beneficiary will be the one to inherit the assets when the time comes.

4. Wealth Increase or Decrease

An increase in your wealth can put you in a higher tax bracket, leading to changes in your estate taxes. It may also affect how you would like to distribute your assets. On the other hand, if your wealth decreases substantially, you might not be able to leave as much to your beneficiaries as you had planned. If your financial situation changes significantly in any way, make sure to update your will accordingly. 

5. Changes in Assets

Don’t forget to account for changes in other assets besides your financial ones. If you buy, sell, or inherit a business or a piece of real estate, you may want to adjust your will. Doing so will eliminate any confusion or disputes over your assets in the future. 

6. You Change Your Mind

Over time, you could change your mind about who you want to name as a beneficiary or how much they will receive. For instance, you might not feel the same about a person as you once did, or you may grow passionate about a cause and decide to leave a bequest to a charity instead. When reviewing your will, be sure to reevaluate your relationships with your beneficiaries and fill in any that are missing.

7. Moving to Another State

Just because your will is valid in one state, doesn’t mean it will be valid in another.  Estate laws differ between states, so it’s essential that you review your will with the help of a professional if you ever move to a new state. 

8. Changes to Tax Laws

State and federal estate tax laws that can make your will invalid may occur over time. Regularly consulting an estate planning attorney can help you catch these changes and keep your will valid. 

Review Your Estate Plan

Even if you can’t think of any reasons why you should update your will, you should give it a review if it’s been over three years since you last looked at it. The professionals at Phelps LaClair have been helping Arizona residents update and manage their estate plans for over 40 years. We’ll help you make sure all of the details in your estate plan reflect your current wishes. Call 480-892-2488 today to set up an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/22/2021). Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

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