When Circumstances Change, Update Your Will

February 7, 2013 Updated: October 1, 2015
Tourist holding camera.
Tourists visit the Colosseum on January 18, 2013 in Rome. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Now that you have completed your estate plan, you can take comfort in knowing that your property will be distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones will be taken care of.

You have taken the precaution of putting your Will and other legal documents in a safe place and you have informed the appropriate person(s) of their whereabouts. But, what happens if the status of your property or the beneficiaries change?

Your attorney will likely touch base with you annually to either advise you of changes in estate planning laws that may affect the administration of your Will, or to remind you that you need to update your Will if there have been any changes in your life.

The occurrences that would require you to revise your Will are changes in personal circumstances, changes in economic conditions, or changes in Federal and state tax laws.

After a couple of years, you might even forget that you have a Will as you go on about your daily life. If you decide to move to a smaller home or apartment and either donate several items to charity or sell some things on ebay, some of the beneficiaries in your Will may be disappointed to learn that the item you bequeathed is no longer there.

Now that you have downsized your living conditions, you may have some extra time to travel, which could affect your economic conditions. Even changes in the family like births, marriages, or divorce could affect the various provisions of your Will.

If you have a complex Will that can be significantly impacted by revised tax laws, keeping abreast of these changes would be in your best interest, especially if you prepared the Will yourself.

The next time you decide to make some changes in your life, remember to check your Will, it might need some updating.

Information contained in this article is not intended to be legal advice nor applicable to all situations. For legal assistance, contact an attorney in your state of residence. You can visit Arleen’s website at arleenrichards-law.info.

The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 21 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.