How And When Should You Update Your Will?

Posted:  May 24, 2023

As a property owner, one of the best ways to ensure that your assets are distributed to the right people when you pass on or become incapacitated is by creating a will. A will is a legal document that will represent you and all your wishes and will be executed upon your demise. However, life, as we all know, is very unpredictable as a person’s current situation can change anytime and any day. For example, a Will owner may marry, divorce their partner, or have a child. Now, when any of these happen, a Will owner must reflect these changes in the Will to prevent legal issues from arising when they pass on. Therefore, in this blog post, we will look at how and when a Will owner should update their last will to reflect every one of those changes.

So, let’s get on with it.


5 Major Events That Necessitate Updating Your Will

As we said earlier, life is very unpredictable, it changes now and then. And some of these significant changes can impact the provisions and intentions outlined in your will. While the circumstances may vary depending on personal factors, here are five major events that often warrant a review and possible update to your will:


1.     Marital Status Changes

This factor relates to marriage, divorce, or separation. When a property owner gets married, he or she will likely be required to change his will to accommodate their partner. Conversely, when a property owner divorces their partner, it will become mandatory for them to remove their name from the final will.

It should however be noted that when it comes to the amendment of will as a result of marriage, in some countries, a property owner doesn’t necessarily have to amend their will to include their spouse, instead their partner's name will be added automatically as long as their marriage is legal.


2.     Birth or Adoption of Children

The addition of a new member into the family is another common reason for changing a will. If a will owner decides to bring new life into the world or adopt one after he or she had already made a will, that could prompt such an entity to review their will and make necessary adjustments. Also, if you become a stepparent and you want to leave something for your stepchildren, you will be required to review and update your Will since stepchildren do not automatically inherit from a stepparent.

3.     Starting or Closing a Business

Another notable event that could necessitate the need to update your Will is when you are starting a new business, or closing one. Whenever you are starting a new business, you may need to update your Will to indicate which of your beneficiaries get to own the business, or how it will be shared when you pass on.


4.     Changes in Your Financial Situation

When an individual’s financial situation changes either for the good or for the bad, it could impact the provisions and intentions outlined in the person’s will. For instance, if an individual lost a lot of money, he or she might be required to remove some things from their will. Conversely, when an individual amass a lot of money after he had already created a will, he or she may need to update their will to reflect changes.


5.     Death of a Spouse, Beneficiary, or Executor

Another notable event that can warrant a review and possible update to a person’s will is the death of one’s legal partner, beneficiary, or executor that you have named in the will.


What is the Recommended Time to Update Your Will?

This is, by far, one of the most common questions we get asked. To simply answer this; there is no fixed rule for when to update your will. However, we always recommend to will owners that they try to update their wills every five years. The reason why we make such a recommendation is that the 5-year interval strikes a balance between regularly reviewing your will and allowing enough time for significant life events to occur. Revisiting your will every five years will allow you to reassess your financial situation, family dynamics, and overall estate planning goals. By doing so, you can make any necessary adjustments to accommodate changes in your life while maintaining the continuity of your legacy.

It should, however, be noted that this five-year interval is just a recommendation. Certain events may require immediate attention and revision of your will.


How to Update Your Will

To answer the burning question of how one can update their Will to ensure it remains legally valid and binding, we shall look at 5 notable steps to follow.

1.     Review Your Current Will

If you have decided that the time is right for you to update your Will, you should start by reviewing your existing will. By reviewing the will, you can identify areas that need revision.


2.     Determine Where Changes Need to be Made

After you might have reviewed the existing will, the need thing is to identify the specific updates you need to make in your will. This may include changes to beneficiaries, executors, guardians, etc.


3.     Consult an Attorney

Whenever you want to update your will, it is always advisable that you hire an experienced estate planning attorney. Estate planning attorneys are professionals, and they can guide you throughout the process to ensure that the updates comply with the current laws of your country.


4.     Execute a Codicil or Create a New Will

Depending on the extent of the changes, a will owner may choose to amend an existing will or create a new one. The process of amending an existing will is termed codicil. And before a codicil can be valid and legally binding, it must meet specific requirements.


Contact us at Stevens and Company Law Corporation

U your will is an essential aspect of responsible estate planning. By keeping your will current and reflecting significant life changes, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out, and your loved ones are taken care of after you're gone.

If you need assistance with updating your will or have questions about the process, consider reaching out to us at Stevens and Company Law Corporation. Our team of experienced attorneys can provide expert guidance on wills and estate planning, helping you navigate the complexities of the legal system and giving you peace of mind. Contact us at 1-250-248-8220 today to schedule a consultation and ensure that you will remain up-to-date and effective.









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