Wills are critical documents that allow a person to state his or her wishes regarding the distribution of assets upon death. Every adult can benefit from creating a will.
That said, it is not always enough to simply create a will; you should also update it periodically. If you fail to do this, the outdated will could be useless, causing problems for your loved ones and triggering disputes during probate.
There is a wide variety of issues that may arise if an individual passes away without updating their will. Naturally, the impact and range of the following problems make reviewing and, when necessary, amending your will regularly a crucial component of planning for your future.
- It does not include new beneficiaries: Marriage and having children or grandchildren can add beneficiaries. To prevent confusion regarding asset distribution, you should update your will when you add people to your family. Further, updating a will can avoid allegations of unfairness and disinheritance.
- It is no longer accurate in terms of property: If you sell property or otherwise lose it, you cannot pass it on in your will. Additionally, if you buy new property or acquire assets, you should be sure to make allowances for them in an updated will. If you do not revise your will, beneficiaries may not receive what you wanted them to have, and the fate of the new property can be left in the hands of a court.
- It includes gifts for estranged or deceased parties: Relationships end over time due to estrangements, divorce or death. If your will is outdated and includes allowances for people with whom you no longer have a relationship, people you did not want to receive property could still do so. You could be leaving beneficiaries to deal with some painful decisions and lessons.
- It does not reflect updated laws: If you move to California or if the laws in your state change after you create your will, revising it can be critical. By updating your will, you can take advantage of new planning strategies and avoid costly oversights due to legislative changes.
For these and other reasons, it can be valuable to revisit your will if circumstances have changed or significant time has passed since its creation. Doing so can give you peace of mind and make probate a little easier on your loved ones.