Estate Planning: 5 Reasons You Should Update Your Will

by Guest

Manu ScriptAs we approach retirement, the last thing we want to think about is death. We’re focusing on building our savings so we can travel, enjoy time with our partners and grown-up children, and, of course, spoil our grandchildren. There is so much to look forward to that thinking about how you will handle your estate once you pass on is quite the downer.

Still, making sure that, in the event that you pass suddenly, no ambiguities are left for your heirs to puzzle over, is a responsibility that is as important securing your finances for retirement. Here are some additional reasons for revising your will today.

1. There have been changes among your family members.

Think about new additions to your family since you last looked at your will. Do you have new grandchildren? Have you remarried, divorced, or has your spouse passed on? Have your executors’ mental or physical health deteriorated? Has anyone mentioned in your will passed? Families and their circumstances are always changing, so you may want to make adjustments to your will based on these changes.

2. You’ve moved to a different state or country.

Sometimes drafting a will in one state renders it invalid in another in the case that you’ve moved. Be sure to check with your lawyer on the status of your will after making a big move.

3. Tax laws have changed.

Tax laws are always constantly in flux, and some changes could affect your will and its execution. Make sure to stay current on all tax laws and ask your lawyer if you have any questions or are uncertain about anything.

4. You’ve lost or acquired large assets.

Selling a home or buying property or any other large asset will invariably affect your will. You want to make sure that all your assets are included in your will so that, again, no one in your family is left wondering about assets not mentioned.

5. It’s been a few years since you’ve reviewed your will.

As you approach retirement, it’s a good idea to review your will every two or three years to ensure that everything is current. While we cannot control when, where, or how we die, it is completely in our power to make sure that our loved ones are left knowing that your last wishes were fully carried out.

For more basic information on the steps needed to alter your will, check out this HowtoLaw article.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy @ yesiamcheap December 23, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Death is so taboo in American culture but dying is the one thing that we can ALL be assured of. My BF’s mom is 80 and I’ll be damned if she isn’t afraid to even discuss what should happen in case she dies. Mind you she’s already had 2 strokes. Sigh.

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Kay Lynn December 30, 2010 at 6:05 am

Sandy, good point. I don’t know why so many people (myself included) put off taking care of this necessary task. I just think I can do it tomorrow and tomorrow never comes. But it will in the next 3 months!

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Mark December 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Good point. I actually need to make a will. I never even thought about it.

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Kay Lynn December 30, 2010 at 6:05 am

Mark, your comment surprised me. I’ve thought about it a lot and then don’t do anything about it! Make it one of your goals like me and make it happen!

Reply

Steve Jenkins December 28, 2010 at 8:43 am

Barbara,

Thanks for the advice. Most people don’t even have a will. I update my will annually.

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