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When and why should I update my will?

Your will is one of the most important pieces of your estate plan. Without one, the grantor dies "intestate," meaning that all default laws and processes are utilized to divvy up the person's assets and belongings. Having a will is critical, and for those who don't have one, we want to strongly encourage you to create one and have it properly reviewed and completed as soon as possible.

Once you have a will though, the journey doesn't end. Your will must be updated frequently -- even if nothing major happens in your life. The passage of time is itself reason enough to review your will.

But that's just one of many reasons to update your will. Here are a few common reasons to review this document and to update it as necessary:

  • Marriage or divorce. When you agree to be with someone til death do you part, then you're going to want to have them in your will in some capacity. On the other hand, if death is too far off for you to part, then when you divorce you should alter your will to reflect your new circumstances.
  • Having children or your kids turn 18. Much like with a new husband or wife, you should include your kids in your will. When they turn 18, it is another prime opportunity to review your will and ensure they have the rights and effects granted to them that you want.
  • Asset gain or asset loss. If your estate dramatically changes in value, either in a positive way or a negative way, you should review your will and make sure all of your ducks are in a row.

Source: FindLaw, "Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents," Accessed April 20, 2018

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