It can be a strong proactive decision to write a last will and testament early in life, but estate planning does not stop after drafting a will for the first time. After all, a will you wrote 20 years ago is very unlikely to reflect your desires, interests and circumstances today.
Updating your will regularly ensures that you are fully tending to your family’s needs in the event of an untimely tragedy. The question remains, though, as to just how often you should update your will after the initial writing.
Every five years
A good rule of thumb is to revisit your will every three to five years. Many things can change in this span of time, such as your health or financial situation. Amending your will every few years is a good measure to make sure that you are passing assets to your chosen beneficiaries in exactly the way you want and that your affairs are always in order.
After major life events
Major life events, such as a marriage or the birth of a child, can significantly change what you want your will to accomplish. Welcoming a new person into your family, for example, often calls for adding that person as a beneficiary in your estate plan. Conversely, going through a divorce might be a good reason to revisit your will and remove beneficiaries.
Updating your will at appropriate intervals requires some presence of mind, but it will benefit you and your family in the long run. For those who wish to forego writing a will to avoid probate, using a revocable trust for estate planning can be a good alternative that is also easy to update over the years.