The busier we get the more we tend to put off the important things. Often the last subject we want to think about is our will or other estate planning requirements. Living life always seems to get in the way! Sometimes that’s not our fault, especially if there has been a crisis or major change in our lives. The irony is that’s exactly when these issues should take a higher priority.
If you or your family have recently (or not so recently) undergone a major life change, you need to update these important documents. A will should be reviewed every three to five years, or when circumstances change to ensure it still meets your needs.
If you have experienced any of the following, it’s time to act.
Any existing will is automatically revoked by a marriage or new de facto relationship.
For second or subsequent marriages, things can get complicated. Children, families and assets can create challenging estate planning situations.
2. Family additions
A good will anticipates future children and grandchildren, but you need to review any particular gifts, testamentary trust or guardianship arrangements to ensure the provisions remain current.
Separation will not revoke your will so it will remain in effect until you divorce. Depending on the state in which you live, your will is either revoked upon divorce or the section referring to your former spouse becomes null and void. As divorce is a major life change, you should seek professional advice as soon as possible.
4. Adult children
Marriage, separation, divorce, bankruptcy or a new business venture can each have implications for a gift left to an adult child. Would any of these affect your adult children differently?
Suddenly receiving a considerable inheritance in the form of money or property may change the way you want your estate to be distributed.
Your will doesn’t just involve you – if your executor is unable to handle the responsibility through illness or death, or you simply wish to appoint a different or additional person, make that change now.
As one of the biggest changes in life, retirement often instigates considerable estate planning changes. As soon as you have settled your finances for this next stage, review and change your will.
Don’t keep putting this in the “too hard basket”; we can refer you to the appropriate professionals. Then you can get on with living life.