Life is never at a standstill — it’s ever-changing and so are your circumstances. As they change, your planning needs may as well. Don’t make the mistake of putting your will away and forgetting about it. Take a look at some major life events that should trigger a review of your will:
You get married or divorced — If recently married, you probably want to include your new spouse in your estate plan. Similarly, if you’ve been recently divorced, you may want to revise what you planned on leaving to your now ex-spouse. You should also change the beneficiary designation on insurance policies, IRAs, pensions and such since those probably specify your now ex-spouse.
You become a parent — How will your child(ren) be cared for if both you and your spouse die? Who will be the guardian of your minor child(ren)? These issues need to be addressed in your will.
You retire — If you retire to another state (or move to a new state, for that matter), review your will and other estate planning documents to be sure they reflect the new state’s relevant laws. You may want to seek legal advice.
Your spouse or other beneficiary dies — If one of your heirs dies before you do, you need to update your will to reflect a new recipient.
How do you change a will?
You can change your will in one of two ways:
By codicil — For small changes, you can utilize a codicil. A codicil is a separate document that’s valid under applicable state law. It adds to or amends your original will. A codicil needs to clearly reference the specific portion of your will that it’s amending so you may want to consider legal counsel.1
A new will — For bigger changes or a series of small changes, you can sign a completely new will that’s valid under applicable state law. Your new will supersedes your old will in its entirety. Again, you may want to seek legal counsel.
We believe in smart
Make sure your will reflects your current situation. If you need to change your will because of a life event, you probably should review your estate and financial plans, as well as your insurance. If you don’t have a will consider getting one to make sure your wishes are carried out as you intended. We believe in smart and want to help you get smarter about planning — the more you know, the better you can prepare for the future. I can help— let’s have a conversation.