Last Will and Testament – Do You Need an Update?

Marriage. Birth of a child. Retirement. Your life will have many seasons. Throughout these different seasons, your wants, needs, and future plans will change. Therefore, your last will and testament may need to be updated to reflect those changes. Your last will and testament is your set of instructions to your loved ones, upon your death. Your instructions may differ according to the season of life, in which you pass away. The following changes in life circumstances may trigger the need to update your last will and testament:

Marriage. Tying the knot may cause a need for an updated last will and testament. In most cases, after marriage, property becomes shared. Many assets are often titled in the names of both spouses, and therefore become joint assets. Most joint assets pass automatically upon the death of one of the spouses. However, non-jointly held assets will not automatically pass to your spouse, unless such instructions are set forth in your last will and testament.
Re-marriage. A will update is especially important in the case of a re-marriage. In such a situation, the couple is often older, and each individual may have previously obtained some large assets prior to the marriage.

Often couples overlook transferring these assets into joint names. Additionally, re-marriages often create step-families. If such relationships are not specifically addressed in a last will and testament, this can cause a lot of problems when the estate is administered, at the time of your death. It is better to set forth your specific instructions regarding step-families prior to your death, in your last will and testament. Such instructions will make it easier on all of those involved at the time of your passing.

Divorce. The end of a marriage is another life change that can trigger the need for an updated estate plan. After a divorce, your will may state that your ex-spouse is to receive all of your property or represent your estate as the personal representative, at the time of your death. It is obvious that an update is needed in such a situation.

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