Many people assume that a will is like a rotisserie oven. They want to just set it and forget it. While it is true that having an outdated will is generally better than having no will in place at all, an outdated will can still cause many issues for a person’s family and beneficiaries. Most estate planning professionals agree that all adults should review and potentially update a will roughly every five years.
A number of factors contribute to this time frame. In general, it is wise to update your will any time that you experience a significant life event that may affect your will, but it is also wise to review the document regularly with an attorney to assess any consequences that changing state or federal laws may bring with them.
Many kinds of life events may require some adjustment to your will, depending on the nature of your wishes for your estate and the complexity of the estate itself. These may include, among others
- marriage or remarriage
- death, birth or addition of beneficiaries
- significant financial gains or losses
- changes in your end of life wishes
Be sure to take time to review your will carefully any time that you experience one or more of these events. You don’t want to create unnecessary conflicts within your family, especially when some regular maintenance can help prevent these conflicts before they ever arise.
It is always wise to review your will with an attorney who can help you examine each element of the will and identify risks and benefits you may not immediately see. With proper legal counsel, you can create a strong will and keep you family and your wishes protected.