Establishing a will is crucial to a strong estate plan, ensuring that your loved ones clearly understand your wishes when the time comes. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that creating a will is only part of protecting your interests. As you experience a number of significant life changes, you may need to amend your will so that it represents your life and the people you wish to include as beneficiaries.
If you choose to create your will and never update it, you may leave behind a legal mess for your beneficiaries and family members to clean up, which commonly leads to conflicts between these parties. Not only does an updated will ensure that your wishes remain protected, it can minimize conflict between the people you love after you are gone.
Changes in beneficiaries
As you age and life takes turns you do not expect, you may gain or lose important people that impacts your stated wishes in your will. It is wise to update your will any time that you gain or lose a beneficiary through:
- Marriage or remarriage
- Aging into adulthood
If your family changes in some way, then you probably need to review your will to make sure that its terms reflect the most recent members of your family. Failing to make these changes can leave out relatively new members of the family when it is time to disperse your property, or may include someone who is no longer a part of your life.
Changes in your estate
It is always possible to gain or lose property over time, and if the changes are significant, you should review your will. If your assets grow considerably, you may want to reassess the legacy you want to leave behind and consider creating or contributing to scholarships or charities that reflect your values.
Likewise, if your assets shrink considerably, you may need to amend your will to ensure that your remaining assets go to the people or organizations that you most want to receive them.
Finally, even those of us whose lives remain relatively constant over time still need to review our will every three or four years. This helps account for any changes in estate planning laws in Maryland and ensures that your rights remain protected as the rapidly changing world grows around you.
Your will is one of the most important documents you may ever create, so it is wise to make sure that it is truly the document that represents your legacy to the ones you love.