When you make a will, you will have taken an important step in making sure that your assets are disposed of in a manner you desire. However, especially if you have drawn up the will early in life, you should periodically review the document to make sure that it is up to date. Otherwise, after you pass on, your heirs may suffer legal complications that otherwise could have been avoided.
You should review your will every time you undergo a major life event. These include:
- A marriage or start of a civil union.
- A divorce or the termination of a civil union.
- The death of a close relative,
- A change in financial circumstances, such as the purchase or sale of a family home, an increase or decrease in personal wealth.
- A major health event that may cause you to allow for your long-term care and end-of-life decisions.
If you find that you need to update your will, you should seek legal advice. It may be possible that you will only have to alter certain parts of the will, such as adding or deleting a beneficiary, accounting for the disposal of newly acquired property or assets, and so on. In some cases, you may be obliged to have an entirely new will drawn up.
Remember that an up-to-date will is vital to make sure that your loved ones will not have headaches disposing of your estate, with large parts of it being eaten up in legal fees. All too often, if the matter of updating the will is put off, a deceased person's assets will wind up going to an estranged former spouse. A property that is no longer owned will have to be dealt with, and property not mentioned in the will must be accounted for, as well.
To update a will you need to either add what is called a codicil that sets out your changes or make a new will entirely.
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