Updating your will after major life events will ensure that it accurately reflects your wishes and desires.
As you already know, people come and go from your life. Perhaps you’ve gotten remarried, had a child, or go through a divorce. These are life-changing moments and as you evolve, so should your legal will and other estate planning documents.
Updating your will is vital to making sure that your final goals and objectives are met, not just for you, but for your loved ones as well.
In general, you should review your will with your estate planning attorney after the occurrence of every major life event, such as:
- Getting married or divorced
- Having a child or grandchild, and/or
- When your financial situation changes significantly
Updating Your Will After Marriage or Divorce
You should review your will if you get married, particularly, if this is a second marriage. Unless you specify otherwise in a will, the marriage may result in your new spouse receiving more of your estate than you intend. If you get divorced, the divorce will have has a significant impact on your will. A divorce automatically revokes all gifts to your former spouse and all gifts to your former spouse’s relatives, other than those you have in common, like children and grandchildren.
Updating Your Will After Having Children or Grandchildren
If you already have a will and other estate planning documents in place, simply having an additional child may or may not necessitate reviewing your will. However, if you have not already had your first child, you should at the very least update your will to designate a guardian to raise your minor child should something happen to you or your spouse. In addition, you should also make financial provisions for the child.
Updating Your Will After Significant Changes in Your Financial Situation
If you experience any significant change in your net worth, either positive or negative, or if the composition of your assets changes significantly, such as if you sell your house or your business, you should revisit your will and other estate planning documents with your attorney.
Even if your family or financial situation have not changed, you should probably review your will every three to five years so that your attorney can advise you as to whether there have been any changes in federal estate and gift tax laws or Arkansas trust and probate law that require your will to be revised.
Things to Keep in Mind When Updating Your Will
Whenever you are updating or executing a will in Arkansas, keep in mind that these revisions must be made with certain rules in mind in order for your will to remain legally valid. Certain things that you might consider innocuous, such as crossing out details or writing in the margins, can invalidate a once legally valid will.
Although minor revisions to your will can be made by appending a briefly written supplement called a codicil, you may have to revoke your existing will and draft a completely new one.
You may also need to have a witness attest to all of the changes you’ve made to your will. These rules were put in place to ensure that any changes are actually made by you, as opposed to someone else who may have written or added pages after you passed away and for their own benefit.
Contact Estate Planners of Arkansas, P.A.
It is very possible that upon review, you will determine that your Arkansas will does not need to be revised or updated. However, you will not know until you speak with an experienced Arkansas estate planning attorney. For more information about updating or making a will in Arkansas, call Estate Planners of Arkansas, P.A. at 501-414-8965, or contact us here to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.