Estate planning is crucial to ensuring that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. While finalizing your will can feel like a major accomplishment, it’s important to remember that your work isn’t necessarily done. Wills are working documents that may need to be changed over time.
After all, the point of a will is to reflect your wishes, and wishes can change as circumstances change. If you experience any of the following life events, you should contact an estate planning attorney about revising your will and other estate planning documents.
When to Change Your Will
Life is unpredictable, and you can never truly predict what the future might bring. Major life events, both positive and negative, can have a serious impact on how you want your assets to be distributed after you’re gone. If you experience any of the following events, you should revise your current will.
- Marriage: No one likes to think about death as they’re about to get married. But don’t let the excitement of wedding planning distract you from less exciting but equally necessary tasks like updating your personal documents. Whether it’s your first marriage or your third, you’ll likely want to make sure that your new spouse is included in your will. Of course, how he or she is treated in the will is entirely up to you.
- Divorce: Just like gaining a spouse should prompt a change in your will, so should the loss of a spouse. Divorce proceedings can be long and painful, but it’s important to not forget the final step of changing your will to reflect the dissolution of your marriage.
- Children: There is no denying that a new child changes your life. It’s easy to get caught up in buying baby clothes and battling those early sleepless nights. However, changing your will is one of the most important things you can do to provide for your child’s future. Not only does your will provide for your child financially, but it’s your chance to declare guardianship in the event that you’re no longer around. Without a will, guardianship is left up to the courts, and your child could end up in the care of someone you didn’t choose.
- Financial Changes: Major changes to your financial situation can have a huge impact on how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. Whether you have an unexpected influx of funds or a sudden financial setback, you will want to revisit your will and any trusts to ensure that your assets will be distributed in a way that you think will best provide for your loved ones.
- Changes in Health: If you encounter serious changes to your health or the health of a loved one, you may want to consider changing your will to reflect your new circumstances. This could include adding a health care directive or a special needs trust designed to provide financial support for the care of an ailing loved one.
- Tax Law Changes: The tax laws are always changing. While your will may comply with them today, that might not be the case tomorrow. Particularly with respect to changes in the law regarding estate and gift taxes, you’ll want to stay on top of things and make sure you’re still happy with the plan for the distribution of your assets.
How an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
Estate planning can seem overwhelming. When you experience a life-changing event, it’s important that your will reflect your new circumstances.
At the Christopher B. Johnson Law Office, we have over 18 years of experience providing will services to the people of Pasadena. If you’re considering making changes to your will or are wondering whether your will needs to be updated, we’re here to help. Contact us today to discuss your estate planning needs.