Creating your last will and testament is not a one-and-done affair. Different events that occur in your life can make it necessary to change your will. If you fail to make changes when you need to, your heirs may lose out on assets that they otherwise would have received or a nasty court battle could break out among your family members.
Any major life event or even a small one may cause you to rethink how you want your estate plans to proceed. Kiplinger describes some instances when revising your will can be a good idea.
Expecting a child
Having your first child can be a joyous event, so be sure you provide for your son or daughter if the worst should happen to you. You can stipulate that your child will receive an inheritance in your will and name someone to be your child’s guardian if you and your spouse die. You may also name a trustee to handle any trust you create for your child.
Replacing an executor
Many years may pass since you first drafted your will. Your choice of executor might have grown old and infirm, moved away, or died. If you have not named a backup choice to be an executor, you risk a court picking an executor for you after you die. If your child is now an adult, you may consider naming him or her to be your executor.
When a divorce looms
If you get divorced and then you die, your ex-spouse may get a share of your estate if your will names your former spouse as a beneficiary. You may change your will before you file for divorce or sometime after your divorce is over. Be aware of when you change your will since it is unlikely you can change your estate plans while the divorce is ongoing.
Adapting to your child’s circumstances
As your child grows older, you may observe different events that may cause you to revise your will. If your child develops substance abuse problems, you might want to change your will to put money into a trust for your child instead of paying your child directly. This way, your child will not squander the inheritance on drugs or poor spending habits.
In addition, if your child is getting married and you think your child’s spouse may divorce your child, consider using your will to create trusts for your child that a court will not consider marital property. You may help your child land on his or her feet if a divorce should occur.