Having a will is many things: It’s a way to transfer assets, or to name a guardian for children who are minors. It’s a way to ensure your wishes are carried out, and that the people you love are cared for after you’re gone. It’s a legal document that carries a great deal of emotion, so it can be difficult to start a will, let alone update it. But as your life changes, you should make sure you’re updating your will along the way. What could trigger an update? How often should a will be changed? Here are a few scenarios:
Change in Marital Status
If you get married or divorced, you should update your will. If something should happen before you update your will, your spouse may not be the beneficiary, and could end up with less as a result. On the flip side, if you’re divorced, your ex could end up with more than you intended.
When children arrive, you’re taking on a whole new level of responsibility. You should update your will to name a guardian for your children if you are no longer able to care for them. An updated will can also ensure that they’re cared for financially should something happen to you.
Changes in Tax Laws
State and federal tax laws are always changing, so you’ll want to be aware of any of these changes could impact your estate plan. Read up on any changes, and regularly consult your attorney to ensure that your will is not affected.
Preparing for the future? Try our Estate Planning Checklist!
Moving to a Different State
If your will was written in a different state, you’ll want to consult an attorney in your new location to make sure your will is still valid. State laws can vary, and you don’t want to assume that your will meets your new state’s regulations.
Changes to Your Finances
If you inherit a large sum of money, you may choose to distribute your estate differently. You may also consider drafting a trust to help protect your estate from taxes, fees and mismanagement after you pass away.
On the other hand, if your financial situation takes a downturn, you’ll want to re-evaluate your will. This can also impact how you choose to distribute your estate. In either case, you’ll always want to talk to an attorney and/or an accountant for tax planning purposes.
Keeping Your Promises
A will is many things, but ultimately, it’s a way to keep your promises. And if you want help protecting the things that matter most to you, talk to your local Farm Bureau agent. He or she can help you figure out a plan that works for you, no matter what your stage in life.
Neither the Company nor its agents give tax, accounting or legal advice. Consult your professional adviser in these areas.