Having a will is important as it helps you plan for the inevitable – your death. The circumstances and needs of individuals constantly change over time, which is why it's wise to re-do your will from time to time, especially if there are some changes in your life that might impact who inherits your property or who may be responsible for caring for your minor children.
So, when is the right time to re-do your will?
There is no definitive answer to this question. It largely depends on the need and the circumstances that lead up to re-doing it. If any of the following circumstances apply to you, it is likely that the time has come for you to re-do your will.
Reason 1: You have new assets you'd like to include in your will.
If you've acquired a new asset such as a boat, antique car, or even a new business that you wish to leave to a specific person, amending your will may be the best way to accomplish that. Unless you make specific reference to a particular asset, your entire estate will be left to your residuary beneficiaries which may not be what you want. Of course, if you have no will at all, then your entire estate will pass by what called "intestacy law" which means it will go to a certain group of relatives regardless of your wishes. For more on the meaning of intestacy, check out our past post What is Intestacy?.
Reason 2: You have new beneficiaries you'd like to include in your will.
If you have a child or grandchild you'd like to add to your will, you will have to re-do your will. If you have a child or grandchild and are already including them in your will, but you want to change the terms or amounts bequeathed to them, you will have to re-do the will to change these terms. Similarly, if you have a friend, a charity, or even an organization that you'd like to include in your will, you will have to re-do the will to include them. These types of modifications are relatively easy to make, but they must be referenced in your will; otherwise, they will not take effect.
Reason 3: You want to change the executor, guardian or trustee of your will.
If you want to change the executor of your will, or who will be the guardian and trustee for your children, you will have to re-do your will. There are several reasons why you might want to change the executor, guardian or trustee of your will. For example, the person you have appointed might have passed away, or you might have a new person you'd like to name to serve in those roles. The executor of your will plays an important role. They are the ones responsible for settling your estate. And if you have minor children, guardians and trustees are critical appointments since they are the people who will care for your children when you are no longer around and manage their money. The people you name to serve in these roles may evolve and change over time, and that is normal. Re-doing your will to make sure these appointments are up-to-date is not very difficult to do, but is very important.
Reason 4: Your spouse has died and/or you've remarried.
When your spouse passes away, it may be the case you will inherit their share from the will with no complications. However, the circumstances upon your death may be more complicated, especially if you have remarried and now have children from a first marriage as well as a new spouse and stepchildren to consider. The death of a spouse and remarrying are significant life events that usually indicate the need to re-do your will.
If any of these circumstances have happened in your life since you completed your will then it's time to re-do your will as soon as possible! It is always good to be prepared for the future and the unknown; having an up-to-date will that expresses your wishes is a proactive step towards protecting your family and your hard-earned assets.
You can protect your family and appoint a guardian and trustee for your minor children very easily by doing a simple will. All it takes is a phone call or text to Serra Law Group at (908) 534-1985.
Our on-line platform called Smart Law eliminates the hassle of schlepping into an attorney's office like in the old days and streamlines the intake process, so you never have to leave your home. And it can all be done in the palm of your hand on your phone at a fraction of the cost of a traditional law firm. The gap between knowing and doing has never been slimmer!
Act now and feel good you did something extremely important for the protection of your family.
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