There is a large public misunderstanding that a will is something set in concrete, that doesn’t change and is to be signed and put away until death. Yet, it is important for people to review and update their wills regularly. Outdated wills can lead to absurd and unintended consequences upon your death.
Relationships can change. Family members can die. You might divorce. You may find yourself close to one person one day and then have difficulties in that relationship. You may find yourself now closer to another family member. Also, your estate can change. There are dramatic changes in a person’s property over time. If you keep an annual inventory, you will see marked changes every year when you go to update the inventory.
There are certain major life changes when people should review and revise their wills: If they are getting married, getting divorced, a person mentioned in the will has died, or adopted a child. These life changes will normally create significant revisions in a will.
Also, if you turn sixty-five (65), you will want to review your will. You will probably want to consider Medicaid planning, asset protection and probate avoidance in revising your will.
I normally recommend that people review their wills every four (4) years if none of the other events mentioned above occur. During a four (4) year time period, it is possible to see significant relationship or asset changes that may warrant a revision to your will.
If you have any questions concerning wills, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.
Kent S. DeJean