Anyone who’s written or pondered their will has probably reflected on how important it can be to those we leave behind. But, while we’re still around, our lives and circumstances are always changing. When was the last time you considered updating your will? Is what you wrote back then still applicable to your situation now?
Let’s go over some reasons you might want to revisit your last will and testament.
If you and your significant other have taken that big step together into marriage, you might want to think a little bit about how such a change is reflected in your will.
On the other hand, if your long-time relationship has ended, divorce or separation might also affect your final wishes.
Children & Grandchildren
The single greatest change to anyone’s life probably happens when a child enters the picture. Whether through birth, adoption or marriage, make sure you consider your children’s future when thinking about your will.
Children don’t stay young forever, though. Sometimes, they can outgrow the sentiments expressed in your will. For instance, you may have left instructions to hold your child’s inheritance in trust until they’re 18. Now that they’re in their 20’s, you might want to revisit that clause.
Speaking of children growing up, what if they’ve had children themselves? How are they reflected in your will?
Death of a Beneficiary
Just as people enter our lives, people unfortunately leave our lives as well. One of your beneficiaries may not be around to collect their inheritance any more. Whether you consider their estate, or remove them entirely, it’s time to update your will.
Have you ever come home from work, sat down in your lovely house and thought, “I’ve come a long way from renting that 1-bedroom apartment all those years ago”? Have you started a business since then? Maybe you have a few investment properties. Have you bought a car? Sold your car?
How significantly have your assets changed since you last checked your will? It’s not just about gaining or losing assets either. Your assets themselves can change in value over time.
Your online presence grows more important every day in this digital age. As such, you might want to think about how your digital assets are handled once you’re gone. Leaving login details and instructions regarding social media is becoming increasingly common.
Legal requirements regarding wills vary from state to state. If you’ve moved interstate, it’s a really good idea to consult an attorney to make sure your will is still valid. Especially so if you’ve moved overseas!
Changing Tax Laws
Tax laws change constantly and there’s a chance this could affect your final wishes. For this reason, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney and check your will regularly, even if you don’t think your circumstances have changed that much.
You’ve Just Changed Your Mind
Maybe you think to yourself one day, “My eldest isn’t the right one to take over the business.” One day, it might behove you to include a charity in your will. Whatever the reason may be – and however subtle that reason – it’s ok to change your mind regarding anything in your will.
That covers some of the biggest reasons, but those were just a few of many. It’s generally a good idea to at least look at your will once a year. Some people do this around the end of the financial year, rolling their yearly check into their regular tax time preparations.
If you’re thinking about updating your will, or writing one for the first time, we’re happy to take your call. Macquarie Lawyers has extensive experience advising clients on all matters regarding their last will and testament. Either way, as your life and circumstances change, stay safe and be well.