As soon as a person acquires any assets, he or she should establish a will. However, the responsibility does not end with this initial designation of asset allocation. Making sure your will is updated when any life changes occur is a very important task.
A will should be updated whenever the will holder gets married, divorced, has a child, or legally adopts stepchildren. When a person has minor children, the will can be used to name a legal guardian for the children should the will holder and spouse die before the children reach legal age. Without this designation, the courts will make the important decision regarding who gets custody of the children.
Individuals should update their wills after any change in financial situation, especially the receipt of a large inheritance. A lesser-known, but just as important, reason to update a will arises when a person moves out of state. Laws vary between states and the will should be revised, if necessary, to reflect the holder’s wishes.
An attorney can perform updates to a will after a consultation and payment of a small fee. For those wishing to perform this task themselves, will software is available online and in many office supply stores. The software prompts the user to provide the information necessary to create the updated will. The user may then print the document and obtain the required signatures in order to validate it.
A will should be updated when specific life changes occur or when will holders change their minds regarding beneficiaries and/or the property and gifts intended. Keeping the will current throughout one’s life will ensure that the appropriate wishes are carried out after death. This will eliminate any squabbling between loved ones over grandpa’s favorite armchair or that prized piece of jewelry.