Just as your life changes, so should your will. Keeping a will current will look different for different people. For those with a basic will, it’s a good idea to pull it out occasionally and use software or an online template to refresh it. For those with large estates or substantial wealth, make time to meet with an estate attorney to ensure your desires are described correctly.
There are certain life events that should cause you to pull out your will and make needed adjustments. Here are four times you should revise your will.
Major Life Event
When there is a major change in your life, like a marriage, divorce, birth of a child or loss of a loved one, you’ll need to update your will. You may need to add or remove beneficiaries and heirs from your documents or change how your assets should be divided. If you move to another state, you will also want to review your will as laws vary and you’ll want to ensure your will adheres to the laws of your new home state.
Life Change For Someone In Your Will
Changes in your own life aren’t the only ones to consider. If a loved one listed in your will has a major life adjustment – they get married or become terminally ill – you’ll want to make an update. You may want to make adjustments to trusts or change the executor of your will if that person moves or becomes sick or disabled. You’ll also want to consider changes to your will with the birth of a grandchild or if a child gets married.
Tax Laws Change
The wills of wealthy individuals are often crafted to minimize the effects of estate taxes. As laws change, the will may also need to be adjusted. For example, the federal government recently doubled the estate tax exemption. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed the amount of a person’s estate that is exempt from the 40 percent federal estate tax from $5.49 million to the current $11.2 million. A change of that magnitude could mean families won’t have to pay estate taxes at all and could remove the need for certain provisions in a will.
Every 3 to 5 Years
Even if you’ve had no major life changes and the tax laws have remained the same, it’s good practice to review your will every three to five years. Check the people you’ve included in some way in the execution and dividing of your assets. As time passes, relationship can change. Are you still in touch with those listed in your will? Is this still a person you would want to give control of your remaining assets?
You’ve taken the first step in creating a will. It’s now time to ensure your work isn’t wasted by making necessary adjustments as life changes. Keep the document up to date and communicate the changes with your loved ones. Contact Texas Republic Life Solutions today to learn more.