If you already have a will in place, you may wonder how often you need to update it or if you need to add other key elements of an estate plan. No one wants to find out after their spouse is no longer able to make their own legal or financial decisions that now it will be more difficult to appoint a power of attorney.
So, for those nearing retirement, you should review your will every three years to make sure all the information in it is still accurate. No matter what your age, your will need revision in the following circumstances:
- You moved to a different state. Each state has their own differences when it comes to estate planning. These differences may seem minor, but they also may be important. It’s always better to a will, power of attorney order or living will with a qualified estate planning attorney in the state you now reside in.
- You divorce, remarry or want to include other family members in the division of your assets. In the case of divorce or remarriage, you may want to protect your children, making sure they get a larger share of inheritance than your second wife or husband. If you’ve had another child or become a grandparent, you may want to include that child in your will as someone who will receive a share of your estate or an important family heirloom.
- Someone has died. If your appointed executor or power of attorney passes away, you’ll need to appoint someone else in your will to fulfill those duties. If you’re spouse has died, you might want to review how the will is set to divide your assets and make changes accordingly.
- Your assets or debts change significantly. If you’ve seen your estate greatly increase in value or fallen on hard financial times, you may want to review your will to see if your current will divides your assets appropriately.
In addition to updating a will in these circumstances, you also want to make sure any beneficiaries for life insurance policies or your retirement accounts are updated too. Settling an estate is a complex job and having your affairs in order will give you and your family members peace of mind.