You probably already know you’ll eventually need a will, which is a legal document that provides for the distribution of your assets after your death. But you may not realize it should be reviewed periodically as your life changes because you might want the assets to be distributed differently.
What Life Changes Might Affect My Will?
Common major life changes where you might want to consider updating your will include:
- Getting married
- Having children or grandchildren
- Getting a divorce
- Moving to another state
- Death of a spouse or other beneficiary
- Inheriting money
- Wanting to account for charitable contributions
- Health complications
- Changes in the law
For example, if you get a divorce but don’t take your ex-spouse off a beneficiary designation, your ex-spouse could potentially still be entitled to that asset.
If you are a parent you might also want to change your will to make a provision for the care of any minor children should you and your spouse die before the children come of age. Make sure to name a guardian for your children and provide for them financially, if possible, should anything happen to you. You might also need to revise your will if you move to another state, to comply with that state’s will and probate laws.
Do I Need Any Other Documents?
Along with a will, it is a good idea to draw up a living will and a durable power of attorney. Both documents outline your wishes for your care should you become permanently incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can be an essential tool because if you become incapacitated without having this document, family and friends will not be able to make important decisions on your behalf.