Get a FREE* legal consultation (717) 275-9770

How Often Should I Update My Will?

30 Jun 2021, by Christian Lautenschleger in Estate Planning
Man using pen to write will

Written by Timothy Czekaj

Writing your will is not a one-and-done task. A lot can change over the years, and these changes can be significant enough to reconsider your last wishes. Your Last Will and Testament should reflect your current desires for advanced healthcare directives, beneficiaries, powers of attorney, and other vital decisions.

When is the last time you updated your will? Here are recommendations for when you should make some changes.

When You Have Major Life Changes

One of the most critical times to make changes to your will is significant life changes. Milestones such as marriage, the birth of your child, or divorce significantly impact how you want your estate distributed.

Many people make their first will when their first child is born. Parents want to select the guardian for their minor child. If you created a trust for your child, this is also the time to name their trustee. Try to get this done before your child is born – you don’t want to risk forgetting to do it in the beautiful chaos of new parenthood.

Other life changes:

  • Buying or selling a home
  • Birth of additional children
  • Health diagnosis or medical condition

Remarriage, Divorce & Death

In addition to adding members to your family, you may need to make updates to your will if your family is growing smaller. Married couples typically change their will after death or divorce.

Divorce rates in Pennsylvania are high. You’ll want to change your beneficiary from a former spouse to your child or other family members. Don’t wait until after your divorce is complete to do so.

Get it done before you file for divorce. If you were to pass away without your divorce finalized, your spouse would be entitled to a portion of your estate.

You might want to update your will should you remarry.

When Beneficiaries Have Major Life Changes

Once you have a will in place, you may find you need to make updates when your beneficiaries’ lives change. When your children are young, your priority is naming a guardian. As they grow up, you might want to change your will accordingly. You might add your adult children as property owners or powers of attorney, for example.

You can create trusts in your will and include a post-nuptial requirement that protects your child’s inheritance in the event of a divorce.

Protecting your beneficiaries:

  • Name a trustee to disperse inheritance for a child prone to substance abuse, poor money management, or health issues
  • Name a healthcare power of attorney to make decisions about treatment and care should you become incapacitated

When Executors or Beneficiaries Pass Away

Sadly, it may be necessary to update your will when anyone involved in your estate plans dies before you. These individuals include your personal representative or beneficiary.

When New Legislation is Passed

Every state has its estate laws regarding wills and estate plans. Pennsylvania is no different. Updates may be necessary when new legislation is passed that could affect your estate plans, such as the passage of important tax laws. Your wills and estate planning lawyer can reach out to you when such updates are required.

Contact a Will and Estate Planning Lawyer in New Bloomfield

Updating your will should be something you do often and regularly. Your experienced New Bloomfield Will and Estate Planning lawyer can help when you’re ready to update yours.

If you don’t know where to begin with writing a will, contact us to guide you through this often complex process. You can schedule your initial consultation at Czekaj Law today.

Call our office at 717-275-9770. Or fill out our quick contact form. We’ll reach out to discuss your will and estate planning needs.

Connect With Us