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When and why you should update your will

Probate litigation and disputes between family members after a loved one dies and their estate is administered are two of the worst heart-wrenching and time-consuming things that can happen in the area of estate planning and probate law. When beneficiaries and family members squabble over another person's assets because the grantor had an incomplete will, a will that wasn't current, or was influenced by outside source in an undue fashion, the litigation can be painful, costly, and stressful.

One way to cut down on the possibility of this happening is to diligently track your will and to update it often. By doing this, you cut down on the chances that the will doesn't reflect your current wishes, and that the beneficiaries you select receive the inheritance that you want them to.

But what does updating a will mean? What are some "triggers" that should get a grantor to look over his or her will? Well, consider the following:

  • If you get married, get divorced, or have a child, then you should update your will.
  • If the value of your estate dramatically changes, either due to the acquisition of a new asset or due to a drop in value of the overall estate, then you should update your will.
  • If a beneficiary passes away, or if your relationship with a beneficiary changes, then you should update your will.
  • If state laws change regarding estates, wills, and probate, then you should review your will.
  • If enough time passes without reviewing or changing your will, then you should look it over.

Source: FindLaw, "Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents," Oct. 27, 2017

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