It took you a little while to come to terms with the idea of having a will. Now that you have one, you know it needs to be updated every once in a while.
How often is often enough, though? Is there any standard for when you need to update your will (or at least review it)?
How often should you update your will?
It’s a good idea to update your will every time there is a major life change, to start with. For example, if you get a divorce, it’s time to pull out your will and make sure it’s still as you planned. If there is something you want to change, make the changes right away, so you don’t forget about them in the future.
Another good idea is simply to review your will once a year. You have a copy of the document, so it doesn’t take long to pull it out and review it annually. You may notice something that has changed or that you’d like to change as you age. Making sure you look at the will at least once a year gives you a chance to do that.
Another time to change your will is when you increase your assets. For instance, you may have purchased a home and sold it for a high amount. If you purchase two or three new properties, you’ll want to include those in your will as well.
Turn over all stones
One other time you should change your will may be something you haven’t thought of. It’s when state laws change or when you move to a new state. While your current will may be binding in the state you’re in, moving to another state could render it useless or unenforceable. This could also happen if your will isn’t updated after state laws change, since there could be updates required to keep it current with the laws. You should reach out to your attorney annually or biannually to make sure there have been no changes that you need to address.
Still another time to change your will is when your children reach the age of 18. Many wills contain guardianship designations, but those are not needed after your child reaches 18. You may wish to add your child as an heir but not have left the previous information about caring for your child in the event of your death.
These are just a few times when you should update your will. Doing so regularly helps protect you and the people you love.