We've previously written about doing estate planning early and writing a will even if you're only 30. But a lot can happen in your life between the ages of 30 and 80 (the average life expectancy in the U.S.), and the will you wrote when you were single and 30, may not make sense when you're a grandparent and 80.
Here are six of the top reasons for changing your will:
- Marriage. When you get married, both you and your spouse should each create a new will. Most states have laws that award a percentage of your estate to your spouse upon your death. However, if you want to give your spouse more (or less), you should specify this in your will.
- Obtaining a new partner, without marriage. Only married spouses automatically receive assets from your estate at death. To provide for a loved one whom you are not married to, you must change your will to reflect what you would like to leave that partner. Otherwise, your loved one may get nothing.
- Divorce. With marriage, can come divorce. Just as you want to include your spouse upon marriage, you may want to disinherit them after divorce. So after divorce, you will want to either specify what you want to leave your former spouse, or else specify how those gifts should now be distributed.
- New baby. If you welcome a new baby into your family, be sure to specify what gifts the baby shall receive. Perhaps more importantly, be sure to appoint a guardian for the baby. This will be the person who will care for your child should anything happen to you.
- New or disposed of assets. If you have willed certain gifts, and you no longer have those properties, be sure to remove these from your will. Similarly, when you acquire new property, be sure to account for that in your will.
- Changing your mind about heirs. Sometimes, you’ll just change your mind.
These are just six of infinite reasons for changing your will. Be sure to talk to an estate planning attorney when life circumstances dictate a will change.
- Find a New York Estate Planning Attorney (FindLaw)
- Estate Planning 101 (FindLaw)
- Protecting Inheritance: Estate Planning for Second Marriages (FindLaw’s New York Estate Planning News)