Think about how many times your life has changed significantly either because you made a major purchase, experienced a major life transition, or were subjected too significant changes in circumstance by choice or by chance. The primary reason why wills are considered to be living estate planning documents is that life evolves overtime. There is no reason for the law to honor the wishes of someone who wrote their will at the age of 20, was never able to change it, and died at the age of 92. Instead, the law encourages adults to alter and update their wills as often as is necessary to ensure that the terms of those wills accurately reflect the creator’s wishes, preferences, needs, and intent.
Is Your Will Current?
If you already have a will in place, you’re ahead of the game. It is now widely reported that more than two out of every three American adults do not have a will in place. As an experienced Bergen County, NJ wills lawyer – including those who practice at Kaplan Law Practice, LLC– can attest though, it is important not to rest on your laurels once you’ve drafted a will. Both your will and broader estate plan will need to be revisited and updated several times throughout your life.
Unless your will was initially drafted or was updated within the past two years, chances are that it’s time to review its terms. A lot can change in the span of a year or two. Has your family experienced the birth or death of a beloved loved one? Have you made any major purchases or received significant inheritances? Have you gotten married or divorced? Had a falling out or falling in with a significant person in your life? These are the kinds of changes that can prompt the need to update your will.
Why Update Your Will Regularly?
After you pass away, the court will not make assumptions about your preferences or intent. If you have a will in place, report will likely take you at your work therefore, if you haven’t updated your will and you have experienced any of the kinds of major life transitions noted above, your preferences and needs may not be currently reflected in the text of your will. Yet, because the court can’t read your mind, it will enforce the words you have if your family has reason to believe that your intent is not properly reflected in the text, they may launch some sort of legal intervention infighting or a need for clarification. Keeping your real current both ensure that your wishes are honored and that you spare your loved ones from stresses that you and you alone can prevent.
You’ll also want to speak with a lawyer about how to properly update your digital estate plan as your online footprint evolves. The ever-changing nature of technology and individual online presence makes the regular review of one’s will arguably more relevant than ever.