Why It’s Very Important To Always Update Your Will

By  //  April 20, 2020

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Having a will can save your property from going to other people. A will ensures that your children inherit the assets that you’ve worked hard to own.

Having a will can save your property from going to other people. A will ensures that your children inherit the assets that you’ve worked hard to own.

Aside from giving instructions that your inheritors should do when you die, a proper last will and testament can help transfer your property to the persons you specify. 

Your will can be updated as often as you wish. You can assign anyone to become the owner of your property whether the person is a relative or not.

You can even use your will to waive their debts from you. Since a will is a legal document, it will bind the inheritors of your property.

Properly done, your will cannot be contested by anyone. This means that you should regularly update your will and it should be done every five years at the very least. Here are the key reasons why.

1. Ensure Smooth Succession of Companies and Trusts

Succession planning as a general procedure requires proper and legal wills and trusts. However, the process isn’t that simple. You should use the right strategies to ensure that the right people get the right assets when the right time comes.

Although the first will may have been appropriately devised, if you made it decades ago, it might not be as useful or as relevant at present. 

Since passing time means changes to you, your beneficiaries, your assets, and to laws relevant to your will, you may have to revise your last will and testament. Life is all about change and uncertainty.

You must know if there are changes to laws that affect your will. If there are, you should redo your will as soon as possible

During succession planning updates, you may need to check the following beneficiaries on your will whether you think they deserve what you will leave them.

• Trustees – Throughout the years, people may have come and gone, particularly your employees and trustees. Some may have taken the position from the previous beneficiary, so it’s best to check your will. Trustees are the people who will manage and hold your assets until these are properly transferred to your beneficiaries.

• Guardians – If you’ve drafted a will before you’ve got children, then you do need to revise your will. Now that you’ve got children who aren’t adults yet, they’ll need guardians to take care of their affairs until they reach the right age. It’s important that you assign the reight guardians to help your children in making important decisions such as schools, where they should live, and how assets should be managed. 

• Executors – Similar to trustees, executors are the people who will settle your affairs when you die. For instance, if you have met better people to entrust your affairs, you need to update your will, particularly if your currently named executors are not your allies anymore. 

2. Disinherit Heirs

Harsh as it may sound, there are circumstances when you should disinherit an heir. Be careful. You may accidentally disinherit an heir because you did not update your will.

For instance, you may have written a will before bearing a child, so he/she wasn’t included in your will.

That’s why you should regularly update your will so that you won’t accidentally disinherit your loved ones. There are many ways to update your will

At the same time, if you’ve got someone on your will that you wish to disinherit for some reason, then you may do so by updating your will.

For instance, if you have divorced your previous spouse and whose name is still on the list, you can exclude your former spouse, particularly if you remarried. 

As to your children, you can only disinherit them if they’re physically and mentally at their right age to live by themselves independently. This means that you can never disinherit your minor children according to law. 

When it comes to your extended relatives, you can leave them out of your will as the law doesn’t oblige you to leave them an inheritance.

Unless you want to, then you can do so. But if you change your mind, then update your will to disinherit any extended relative. 

There are many reasons to disinherit an heir or beneficiary. Here are some of the more common reasons.

• Unacceptable behavior: The behavior or lifestyle of your heir is not in accordance with your preference. For instance, if your inheritor spends money on useless stuff and you know it might lead to the bankruptcy of your business, update your will and remove this beneficiary. 

• Fiscal immaturity: If the heir shows financial irresponsibility that can lead to loss of your assets, you can change your will. For instance, if you know that your heir will only sell your assets or properties for personal reasons, then you can exclude this person from your will.

• Irrelevance: You can even disinherit someone whom you’ve given financial support, particularly those who aren’t your relatives. Another reason for disinheriting an heir is when this person didn’t care for you or lacks contact or relationship with you. You can leave someone out of your will, or you can include a disinheritance clause to your will. 

Aside from disinheriting someone who doesn’t deserve your hard-earned assets, you should amend your will when meaningful events happen in your life.

3. Amendments Due To Changing Circumstances

Aside from disinheriting someone who doesn’t deserve your hard-earned assets, you should amend your will when meaningful events happen in your life.

By updating your will when a big event happens, you can avoid making your living inheritors contest the will. 

For instance, when your child was left out of the will which you’ve made before his/her birth. As mentioned, this is a case of accidental disinheritance so your child can contest it in court. It may take time and effort, so it’s best to update your will whenever possible. 

Other personal circumstances where you need to update your will can include changes in finances, relationships, and locations.

• Financial Situation – As mentioned, you may have expanded your business or have new sets of businesses, which means changes in the values of your assets and liabilities. Your current will may not reflect your present financial situation anymore. If this is so, it’s best to update your will. 

• Relationships – Marriages, deaths, or divorces are significant events that should indicate an urgent need to update your will. If you’re single when your will was made, then the marriage will change your inheritors. For divorce cases, you may need to disinherit your previous wife. 

• Location – If you have relocated overseas or to other states, you may need to update your will as well. It’s because you need to consider the laws that are valid in your present location, which may be different from the laws where you made your current will. Different states may have different laws on estates, taxation, and beneficiaries.

Takeaways

Death is one of the most unavoidable and unpredictable events in life. With a sudden death, your assets or properties may get into the wrong hands if you haven’t made a will.

This is also true if you haven’t updated your will. If you want to make sure that your will cannot be contested, consult a reliable estate planner when finalizing your last will.

Not updating your will may even cause grievances to your living heirs. For these reasons, you need to regularly update your will for stress-free succession planning.

With so much to think about, you also need to assign the right people to the assets that they deserve to have. 

At the same time, you may need to remove some people whom you think don’t deserve an inheritance. Updating your will allows you to disinherit them.

Lastly, you shouldn’t forget to update your will when there are significant changes in your circumstances. 

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