Your will is likely the foundational element of your entire estate plan. This document names an executor for your estate and outlines how you want to distribute your assets after you die.
Many people have yet to create a will and according to a survey conducted by Caring.com, only 33% of Americans have a will in place. Not only is it important to have a will, but it is essential that you update this legal document at different times throughout your life.
You change your marital status
If you get married or divorced, these changes to your marital status should prompt you to change your will. If, for example, you do not change your will and remove mentions of your former spouse, some of your assets could end up going to him or her, even if this is not what you want.
Your family grows
When you add a new child to your family either through birth or adoption, take time to update your will. Your will is where you can name a legal guardian for your minor children. Putting your new child in your will can also make sure he or she receives access to your assets if you unexpectedly pass away.
Your financial situation changes
If you recently experienced an increase in your personal wealth, you may find yourself in a different tax bracket, which can affect your estate taxes. An increase in your wealth may also inspire you to change your beneficiaries and increase the gifts you leave to others or to charity.
Even if you do not experience a major life change, you should still review your will regularly. Plan on reading through this document about once a year and making any necessary changes.