A will is an essential component of estate planning. Making a will ensures your assets will be distributed as you intended when you pass away. However, life changes, sometimes drastically, and your will should be revisited at least every five years for updating or after any of the following life events:
- Change in your marital status: Marriage or divorce should prompt a rethinking of estate planning and, therefore, a revision of your will. If you are getting married and your new partner has children, you must decide if you will pass along any assets to them together with your children. After a divorce, removing the ex-spouse as a beneficiary from the will and any retirement accounts and life insurance policies is common. When a marriage ends, it is important to protect your assets.
- The birth or adoption of a child: Additions to the family call for changing your will to include the naming of legal guardians who will care for your children should anything happen to you and your spouse. You will also want to consider changing the distribution of assets in your will to include your children. Grandparents may wish to change their will after the arrival of a new grandchild so that they also receive an inheritance.
- Moving to a new state: If you change locations to a different state, you should check that your will is legally valid and make any necessary changes.
- Change in income or assets: If your income situation changes significantly, whether through a new job, inheritance, or gift, you should consider changing your will to reflect the increase in assets. The same is true if your estate decreases significantly for some unfortunate reason.
- Death of a spouse or loved one: If your spouse or another loved one is named your power of attorney or healthcare proxy and passes before you, it is critical to change your will to name someone new for these important roles. If anyone you have named as an executor or beneficiary of your will passes away or becomes incapacitated, you must revise your will. The same is true for the people named as guardians for your children.
- Change in tax laws: Federal and state tax laws can change, and your will should be updated to keep abreast of any changes that could affect how your estate is taxed and distributed. In this way, you can be sure that your family is protected and your will is executed as intended.
For Help Revising Your Will, Contact Our West Chester Estate Lawyers at Eckell Sparks
Major life events may require changes to your will to protect your family and your interests. You can trust our West Chester estate lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. for sound legal advice in all estate planning matters. Call 610-565-3701 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.