Creating an estate plan is really only half the battle. There are also times when you’ll need to update your will to ensure it continues to meet your needs, or your family could be subject to serious issues after you’re gone. Wise Bread explains a few of the times when updating your will is an absolute must.
After buying real estate
Determining property ownership is often contentious when there are issues with a will. That’s why you must look over your will after buying a new property, whether it’s intended to be a residence or used for rental property. Keep in mind that most state laws dictate that your spouse will receive any property you own jointly after you die. However, this process can be complicated if your spouse dies before you or if you have different plans for a piece of real estate. Buying a home is a major life decision, which calls for a thorough review of estate planning documents.
New marriage or divorce
Blended families make estate planning far more complicated. You must add your new spouse to your will immediately to ensure he or she receives specific assets after you’re gone. In the same token, you must reconfigure your will after getting divorced or you run the risk of your former spouse receiving assets in error. Problems with wills lead to contentious battles among heirs, which puts undue pressure on your family.
After the death of an heir
If a person named in your will dies before you do, your assets could become the property of the state. This is a devastating experience for the family of the deceased, especially when the assets have deep personal value. The death of your spouse should also trigger a review, particularly if you have children under the age of consent. In this case, you should establish a guardian, who will be responsible for caring for your kids, both personally and financially, after you’re gone.