Is It Time to Revise Your Will? Yes.
Establishing a last will and testament is an important part of good estate planning, but the process doesn’t end there. Many people are under the impression that drafting one will is sufficient, but in reality, life changes often require you to review and possibly revise your will. If your will is not up to date or if you have attempted to make unauthorized changes without the help of a lawyer, your assets could end up in the wrong hands upon your passing.
In general, a will should be reviewed approximately every five years to ensure that all information is current, but certain life circumstances can also signal that you should revisit your will sooner.
If a new child, grandchild or other relative has entered the picture, you should review your will to decide how best to redistribute your assets. The same might be true if you have recently experienced a death in the family.
In many states, a spouse is able to claim a certain amount of your estate after your death, unless you state differently in the will. If you would like to make sure your spouse receives something different from the state-mandated amount, you should make sure it’s included in your will. Likewise, if you and your spouse have recently divorced, be aware that this divorce might affect a gift that you’ve left to that person in your will, but it might not. In this case, you may need to change your will to ensure you are not unintentionally leaving money or other assets to your ex-spouse.
To make changes to your will, you must either make a new signed and witnessed will — after making a written declaration that you are revoking your old will — or add a signed and witnessed addition, called a codicil.
If you’re ready to revise or conduct an in-depth review of your current will, it’s best to contact an attorney with experience in this area. Contact a trusted Tampa estate planning attorney today to learn more about your options.