Estate planning is an ongoing process that does not end just because you executed a will. Your life circumstances will continue to change after you execute your will, just as they did before. You will likely have new additions to your family, have friends or relatives who pass away, and experience changes in your financial state. After some time, the decisions you wrote into your will might not make as much sense anymore, and a will review becomes necessary. Even if nothing significant in your life has changed, the law changes, and changes in the law might affect the choices you wrote into your will.
There is no exact right answer for how often you should consider updating your will. At the very least, you should plan for will reviews every five years.
There are some events in life that should immediately lead you to review your will. If any of these events occur in your life, we recommend that you either contact an attorney for a will review or return to the simple will-drafting instructions on this website and use them to determine whether your will should be replaced with a new simple will:
- You change your mind about who you would like to receive property under your will.
- You change your mind about who should serve as one of the fiduciaries appointed under your will.
- You marry or register as a domestic partner.
- You divorce or become legally separated from your spouse or registered domestic partner.
- You move from one state to another or from one country to another.
- You become the owner of additional real estate.
- You have or adopt a child.
- Any of your descendants has or adopts a child.
- Any of the people you named in your will, whether as a beneficiary or as a fiduciary, passes away.
- Your net worth reaches a point where you think your estate may have to pay estate tax.
- You expect to start receiving Medicaid assistance.
- By agreement or court order you become obligated to include certain terms in your will.