Making a will is an essential part of estate planning, but it’s not the end of the story. After you make your will, plan to review it every three or four years so you can make changes to it if and when they are needed. Life is ever-changing, and some of the changes in your life require changes to your will. The following situations are examples of the types of things that might cause you to need to adjust your will.
When your family expands, you may want to change your will to include the new family members. Whether you marry, have a baby, adopt a child, or become a grandparent, if you wish to make bequests to family members who were not listed in your will when you wrote it, your estate planning attorney can help you make the changes that will make your will reflect your current plans. Also, naming a guardian for a minor child is a vital function of a will that would not have been included in a will written before that child was born. As your children grow, your estate planning needs may change, too. When they become adults, you can remove guardianship provisions. You might also want to change the way that they inherit from you from a trust to a bequest or vice versa, depending upon the changes that you notice in their lives as they grow.
Marriage and divorce also trigger a need to change your will. If you get married, a will that you made before your wedding is no longer valid. If you divorce, you will need to change the provisions in your will that applied to your former spouse. If you have minor children, you might set up trusts after your divorce so that their shares of your assets would be managed by someone you trust. Remarriage after a divorce is a good reason to revise your will, especially if you want it to benefit your new spouse and any children that they bring into your marriage from a previous relationship.
Retirement is another life change that creates a need for an update to your will. At that time, you may want to add some additional documents to your estate plan, such as trusts or powers of attorney. Changes in state law or changes of residence also impact your will. It’s important to update your will whenever you move, and if you move to a different state, check in with an estate planning attorney in your new state of residence to check whether your will needs any changes to be valid in your new home state. Since state estate planning laws change over time, a periodic review of your will with your attorney will ensure that your will remains in compliance with the requirements of the law. Also, if you buy or sell real estate or other substantial assets after you make a will, it’s a good idea to update your will to reflect the changes in what you own.
When it’s time to update your will, your Kansas Will and Estates attorney can help you to make the changes that you need to make. You can schedule a consultation with Wichita attorney J. Joseph Weber by calling our office at 316.265.7802, or by contacting us through our website.