Many people think that once they make their will they will never need to change it, but this is a common misconception. It is important to reconsider the terms of your will when a major life event occurs. Here are some typical examples of when you may want to update your will.
When a Relationship Ends
If a marriage or long-term relationship ends, you may wish to update your will to remove your ex-partner as a beneficiary or make changes to their role as it is laid out in your will. For example, perhaps you may want to keep them as a beneficiary but remove them as executor, or change the percentage of your assets you wish to leave them.
When You Get Married
If you get married or move in with a romantic partner, this is often a good time to update your will. You may want to provide for your spouse or partner in the event of your passing, but if you made your will before they were in your life, you will need to update it to name them as a beneficiary.
When a Family Member Passes
In the tragic event that a family member or loved one passes away, you may want to update your will if they were named as a beneficiary and/or executor. It is important to keep your will current to ensure that all the beneficiaries listed can receive the assets you choose to leave them. If a family member passes, you may wish to add a new beneficiary or redistribute the portion of assets allotted to the deceased loved one equally between your other beneficiaries.
When a New Family Member is Born
If a child, grandchild, niece, or nephew is born, you may want to leave them something in your will. In this case, you will need to update your will to include these new beneficiaries after they are born. As your family grows, you should consider updating your will.
When Your Financial Situation Changes Significantly
If your financial situation changes significantly, you will likely want to look at your will and consider making some changes. For example, if your finances have changed positively by a considerable amount, you may want to include more beneficiaries and/or leave a donation to a charity that is close to your heart. If your finances change for the worse, you may need to make some hard decisions and remove some beneficiaries in order to leave more to a select few beneficiaries.
Anytime you wish to update your will, it is important to work with a lawyer. Otherwise, your changes to your will might not be seen as legally valid and an old, outdated version of your will may end up being honoured by the courts. Our legal team at Munro & Crawford is always available to help you draft and update your will.